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Illustration: Taken from her homeUnable to speak her language, they communicated in gestures and used commands she couldn´t understand. They looked different from her people, too.
These people were hunters and farmers. When they weren´t hunting or traveling with raiding parties, they tended to stay close to the villages where they lived. White explorers called the Hidatsas "Big Bellies."
Photo: Irene Ariwite Photo: Lemhi Speak Text "Lewis and Clark said the salmon eaters were starving. I don't believe it. Food was so abundant then. How could they be starving?"  Irene AriwiteThe name came from misinterpreting a sign-language gesture in which the hands were moved in front of the stomach. Agaidikas object to claims by white historians that their ancestors often were close to starving. They say the bounty of a land yet to be exploited by the white people was sufficient, but the tribe´s high-protein diet and mobile lifestyle made for lean people. Ample bellies almost certainly were more prevalent among the relatively settled Hidatsas than the nomadic Agaidikas.
Sacajawea had never seen anything like the Hidatsa villages. Her people lived in tepees. When they traveled, they often slept in the open. The Hidatsas lived in circular lodges made of earth and logs. Up to 40 feet across, they housed people, dogs and horses. Fires vented through the roofs kept the lodges warm during cold weather. They were spacious, secure and comfortable.
Unlike Sacajawea´s people, the Hidatsas obtained much of their food by farming. Their crops included beans, corn and squash. Instead of traveling for days to dig roots, they walked to their well-tended gardens. Compared with what Sacajawea had known, it was in some ways a life of ease.


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