Possibly the most famous of the very few paintings we have of the interior of a Mandan earth lodge. This is another of Karl Bodmer's works.

The painting shows how spacious these dwellings were. There is room for work, for cooking, for play, for food storage, for large animals . . . everything. Notice the large cottonwood beams holding up the roof, and the sunlight streaming down through the smoke hole.

Some earth lodges were sized for a single family, and some were large enough to hold a meeting of a hundred people. In North Dakota, at Knife River or Abraham Lincoln State Park, there are earth lodges restored near their original sites. You can go inside and feel how cool and comfortable they were. At the museum in New Town, you can see some of the beautiful tools, beadwork, and clothing that were made in a lodge just like this one. Archaeologists have been working at the site of Mitutanka/Fort Clark. You can walk through the fields where 2000 people died of small pox, and ponder the meaning of life.