The Mandan

The Mandan tribe has not been visited by the author, who must content

himself with giving the list of gentes furnished by Morgan, in his

Ancient Society. This author's system of spelling is preserved:

1. Wolf gens, Ho-ra-ta'-mu-make (Qa-ra-ta' nu-man'-ke?).

2. Bear gens, Mae-to'-no-maeke (Ma-to' nu-man'-ke).

3. Prairie-chicken gens, See-poosh'-kae (Si-pu'-cka nu-man'-ke).

4. Good-knife gens, Tae-na-tsu'-kae (Ta-ne-tsu'-ka nu-man'-ke?).

5. Eagle gens, Ki-tae'-ne-maeke (Qi-ta' nu-man'-ke?).

6. Flat-head gens, E-stae-pa' (Hi-sta pe' nu-man'-ke?).

7. High-village gens, Me-te-ah'-ke.

All that follows concerning the Mandan was recorded by Prince Maximilian

in 1833. Polygamy was everywhere practiced, the number of wives differing,

there being seldom more than four, and in general only one. The Mandan

marriage customs resemble those of the Dakota and other cognate peoples.

When a child is born a person is paid to give it the name chosen by the

parents and kindred. The child is held up, then turned to all sides of the

heavens, in the direction of the course of the sun, and its name is

proclaimed. A Mandan cradle consists of a leather bag suspended by a strap

to a crossbeam in the hut.

There are traces of descent in the female line; for example, sisters have

great privileges; all the horses that a young man steals or captures in

war are brought by him to his sister. He can demand from his sister any

object in her possession, even the clothing which she is wearing, and he

receives it immediately. The mother-in-law never speaks to her son-in-law,

unless on his return from war he bring her the scalp and gun of a slain

foe, in which event she is at liberty from that moment to converse with

him. This custom is found, says Maximilian, among the Hidatsa, but not

among the Crow and Arikara. While the Dakota, Omaha, and other tribes

visited by the author have the custom of bashfulness, which forbids the

mother-in-law and son-in-law to speak to each other, no allowable

relaxation of the prohibition has been recorded.