Gros Ventre



Language: Arapaho
Family: Plains Algonquian
Stock: Algonquian
Phylum: Algic
Macro-Culture: Great Plains
Speakers 11   1990 Census
      The Gros Ventre were a component of the hunter/farmer Arapaho in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota until about 1650.  They ventured to northern Wyoming before fissioning as nomadic hunter/gatherers about 1675 and ventured north to settle just south of the Saskatchewan River.  They allied with the Blackfeet before rejoining the Arapaho in 1818 in Wyoming.  They once again separated from the Arapaho and stumbled into a mountain man rendezvous which resulted in a disastrous battle ... the Battle of Pierre's Hole.
      In time, the Gros Ventre became enemies with the Blackfeet against whom they took severe losses in battle until they were settled on the Fort Belknap Reservation with the Assiniboin where they remain today.  Early reservation life was disastrous as well.
Aboriginal Locations (Subdivisions)
ND & MN  Occupied the Red River Valley among the Arapaho
Present Locations
MT Fort Belknap, Harlem  
Year History
1650 Approximate year Arapaho removed from the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota to the eastern Rocky Mountains, likely as a result of the domino effect of the Beaver Wars (1640-1680) in which the Iroquois attacked all of the tribes from New York to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to above the Great Lakes.
1670 Approximate year in which tribe fissioned from the Arapaho
1780 Smallpox epidemic
1800 Located just south of the Saskatchewan River
1818 Rejoined Arapaho
1820 10 year old Pine Leaf, later Woman Chief of the Crow, kidnapped by the Crow
1823 Band settled on Milk River, the rest of the tribe remained with the Arapaho
1829 Smallpox struck Milk River band
1832 Once again separated from the Arapaho, happened upon a mountain man rendezvous resulting in the Battle of Pierre's Hole, tribe took heavy losses
1833 Two bands rejoined
1838 Suffered severe losses in an Assiniboin attack
1851 Signed Treaty of Fort Laramie
1855 Signed Treaty of Friendship with Isaac Stevens as part of the Blackfeet Nation
1856 Killed Woman Chief by ambush
1856 Previous Gros Ventre allies defeated Gros Ventre and Crow; later placed on Fort Belknap Reservation with Assiniboin
1867 Gros Ventre lost battle with Balckfeet
1869 Smallpox epidemic
1884 Reservation overrun by gold prospectors
Year U.S. Population MT SK Source
Arrival 0
1700 3,000 3,000 NAHDB calculation
1780 3,000 Mooney estimate
1800 3,000 3,000 NAHDB calculation
1900 500 500 NAHDB calculation 
1904 535 Census
1910 510 Census
1923 556 US Indian Office
1930 631 Census
1937 809 BIA
1989 1,600 BIA estimate
2000 2,500 2,500 NAHDB calculation
2005 3,000 Native Languages
Other speakers of the same language:
Gros Ventre Sites:
Battle of Pierre's Hole - Bill Sublette
Beckwourth, James Pierson
Choosing Who Belongs
Crow Necklace and His Medicine Ceremony
Fort Belknap
Fort Belknap College
Fort Belknap Community Profile
Fort Belknap History
Fort Belknap Indian Community Cultural Heritage
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
Fort Belknap Reservation
Gros Ventre
Gros Ventre
Gros Ventre and Piegan Blackfeet
Gros Ventre Coloring Book
Gros Ventre Culture and History
Gros Ventre Fact Sheet
Gros Ventre Language
Gros Ventre Language
Gros Ventre Language
Gros Ventre Language
Gros Ventre Linguistic Lineage
Gros Ventre of Montana
Henry's Fork
Indian Rawhide Drum Making
James Welch (Blackfeet-Gros Ventre)
Lewis and Clark:  Atsina
Looking Back
Phillips County Museum
Pine Leaf

Last updated 03/16/08  Copyright 2008 by Four Directions Press