By venturing out into the channel of the Missouri River, which they navigated for much of the nineteenth century, Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa women evaded American surveillance as well as indigenous enemies. They transported crucial supplies back to their villages, conducted long-distance expeditions that stretched hundreds of miles, and capitalized on their navigational experience by ferrying visitors across the river. Yet historians have mostly overlooked their mobility on the Missouri River. This article, which provides the first detailed account of their river travel, identifies an indigenous transportation regime in which Native women helped control passage across riparian borders.

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