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Press Release - History Awardees Honored at Governorís Conference on North Dakota History

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 27, 2012
Contact: Danielle Stuckle

History Awardees Honored at Governorís Conference on North Dakota History

BISMARCK – Awards honoring achievements related to North Dakota history were recently presented at the 24th annual Governor’s Conference on North Dakota History in Bismarck, sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Awards were presented in three categories including Excellence in Local History, Heritage Profile Honor Award, and North Dakota Person of History Award.

The Excellence in Local History Award recognizes those associated specifically with local, county, and regional historical organizations within North Dakota whose activity serves as a role model of excellence to others. The 2012 recipients include Whitestone Hill Battlefield Historical Society and Ella Guenther from Dunn Center, ND. Whitestone Hill Battlefield Historical Society is a friends’ group for the Whitestone Hill State Historic Site near Kulm, ND. This group sponsors Whitestone Hill Education Day and works with school groups to better understand the history of the site and local area. They also sponsor an outdoor concert and history presentation every year. Also recognized posthumously was Ella Guenther, who led efforts to establish a museum in Dunn County. She collected and preserved items that later established the Dunn County Historical Society’s artifact collection. Guenther also led the effort in the building project for the current museum facility and related activities.

The Heritage Profile Honor Award recognizes individuals who have made a lasting or significant contribution in researching and writing the history of North Dakota. The 2012 recipient is Gilbert L. Wilson, who was nominated posthumously for his extensive ethnographic work recording information about the Mandan and Hidatsa people at Fort Berthold Reservation from 1907 to 1918. Most notably, Wilson’s work with Maxi’diwiac (Buffalo Bird Woman) and her family has been significant in the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Missouri River and related sites such as the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.

The North Dakota Person of History Award posthumously recognizes individuals who have had a prominent role in making the history of North Dakota. The 2012 recipients include Maxi’diwiac (Buffalo Bird Woman) and Dr. Wilson Morrow Laird. Maxi’diwiac (Buffalo Bird Woman) worked with anthropologists, including Gilbert L. Wilson, to record the history of the Mandan and Hidatsa people. Her work helped to preserve the traditional experiences and lifeways of Native Americans, specifically the village farming techniques of the Hidatsa people. Also recognized was Dr. Wilson Morrow Laird, who was nominated for his scientific work and geologic studies that brought national recognition to his work as North Dakota State Geologist. He was a leader in the enactment of an effective oil and gas conservation statute that ensures the orderly development of the oil and gas industry in the state.

Local History Awards are presented annually at the Governor’s Conference on North Dakota History. Nominations can be made throughout the year and are due the second Friday in July. Nominations not received by the due date will be considered for awards the following year. For more information about the Local History Award program, contact Danielle Stuckle at 701.328.2794 or, or visit the State Historical Society of North Dakota’s website at

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