Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization


Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization

Alfred W. Bowers
Foreword by Gerard Baker

407 pages
41 illustrations, 2 maps, 4 tables, index


November 2004


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Generations before the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery wintered in the northern Plains, the Mandan Indians farmed along the banks of rivers. The traditional world of the Mandans comes vividly to life in this classic account by anthropologist Alfred W. Bowers. Based on years of research and conversations with Crows Heart and ten other Mandan men and women, Bowers offers an engaging and detailed reconstruction of their way of life in earlier times. Featured here are overviews of how their households function, the makeup of their clan and moiety systems and kinship network, and a valuable look at the entire Mandan life cycle, from birth and naming through adulthood, marriage, and death.

Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization also includes descriptions and analyses of Mandan ceremonies, legends, and religious beliefs, including origin myths, the Okipa Ceremony, sacred bundles, Corn ceremonies, the Eagle-Trapping Ceremony, Catfish-Trapping Ceremony, and the Adoption Pipe Ceremony. Many of these practices and beliefs remain vital and relevant for Mandans today. A comprehensive look at the legacy and traditional roots of present-day Mandan culture, Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization is a classic ethnography of an enduring North American Native community.

Author Bio

Alfred W. Bowers (1901–1990) was a professor of anthropology and is the author of Hidatsa Social and Ceremonial Organization (Nebraska 1992). Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa from the Fort Berthold Reservation, is the superintendent of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail and leader of the Corps of Discovery II, the Lewis and Clark bicentennial initiative sponsored by the National Park Service.

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