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Press Release - Public Events Commemorating Key Anniversaries at Whitestone Hill State Historic Site

Contact: Diane Rogness

Public Events Commemorating Key Anniversaries at Whitestone Hill State Historic Site

KULM – A series of free public programs commemorating key anniversaries at the Whitestone Hill State Historic Site near Kulm, ND, will be featured Saturday, Aug. 24 and Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Events are sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) and the site’s friends group, the Whitestone Hill Historical Society.

On Aug. 24 beginning at 9 a.m., speakers and demonstration stations will be part of commemorating the 150th anniversary of Whitestone Hill. Cultural Ambassador Kevin Locke will open the event with a prayer. Speakers include Ladonna Allard, Standing Rock Tourism director and tribal historian, speaking on the “People of the James River Valley”; Richard Rothaus, archaeologist and historian, speaking on “The Military Context of Whitestone Hill”; Aaron Barth, Ph.D. candidate at NDSU, speaking on “Remembering Whitestone Hill”; a session on the “Identity and Story of the Native People of Whitestone Hill”; and a panel discussing the “Preservation of Whitestone Hill, Past, Present, and Future.” Kevin Locke will close the program with a dance at 4 p.m. A buffalo dinner will follow. Cost for the buffalo dinner is $10 per person in advance and $15 the day of the event. Please RSVP for the dinner to 701.328.3508 or 701.391.6011. Food vendors will be on site for lunch and refreshments. The State Historical Society Museum Store will also have a booth on site.

Demonstration stations include Dakota Lifeways, Dakota food, Dakota Drum and Dance, military life, settler life, and information on the US-Dakota War.

Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Admission for the program is free.

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, the 13th annual Education Day will be held at the site, marking the 150th anniversary of the encounter at Whitestone Hill. Programs are targeted to fourth grade and upper elementary students and teacher groups from area schools, but the public is also invited to attend.

Visitors can visit stations from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch. Demonstration stations will include a replica tepee, a tepee raising, visits to historical monuments and markers, hide tanning, a description of Dakota winter counts, military campaign food, a mapping exercise, artist sketches, and the museum store.

On Aug. 24 and 28, SHSND will host an on-site museum store with items relevant to the history of Whitestone Hill Battlefield State Historic Site. Merchandise will be suitable for children.

Whitestone Hill State Historic Site preserves a site long used by native peoples, as well as the location of the fiercest clash between Indians and white soldiers east of the Missouri River in North Dakota. On Sept. 3, 1863, Sixth Iowa and Second Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry troops under Brigadier General Alfred Sully attacked a camp of various bands of Dakota people, including Yanktonai, some Dakotas, Hunkpapa Lakotas, and Blackfeet (Sishasapa Lakota), who had gathered in a large encampment for an annual fall bison hunt. Sully’s attack was part of a military mission meant to punish participants in the US-Dakota War of 1862, which involved different bands of Dakota people than those gathered at Whitestone. Many Indian men, women, and children were killed or captured in Sully’s attack and some soldiers were killed. The army also destroyed virtually all of the Indian’s property and food, leaving them nearly destitute for the coming winter. The site commemorates both the Indian and the white participants.

The Whitestone Hill State Historic Site can be reached by traveling from Kulm south 12 miles on North Dakota State Highway 56, then east four miles on a gravel road, then north nearly two miles to the site. The site features a small museum, two monuments, an adjacent park, and picnic and recreational facilities. The site is open through Sept. 15.

For a calendar of 2013 state historic site programs, visit, contact the State Historical Society at 701.328.2666, or e-mail at

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