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Near Bismarck in Burleigh County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Mandans and the Practice of Farming

 
 
Mandans and the Practice of Farming Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
1. Mandans and the Practice of Farming Marker
Inscription.  Life for these agriculturalists centered on the cultivation and trade of native corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers along with hunting. Women watched the skies carefully for the arrival of flocks of geese and ducks, which signified the arrival of spring and the time to start preparing the garden. Since gardening was closely tied to women's spiritual lives, offerings were made to waterfowl at certain times of the year. Gardening tools and cultivated plants were often found in women's ceremonial regalia and bundles. Prior to planting, ceremonies were held to bless the gardens and the seed.

The women in each family might cultivate up to five acres of bottomland, where the soil was soft and fertile. Hundreds of acres of crops were planted, cared for, and harvested near each of these large villages. Sunflowers were planted around the edge of their fields. In May, corn, beans, and squash were planted. Young girls would spend days on platforms in the fields shooing birds away from crops in the late summer.

Captions:
In August, squashes were harvested, sliced, and dried.
An archaeologist stands in an excavated cache

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pit.
Harvested corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers were stored in bell-shaped underground storage pits both inside and outside of Mandan homes. Some caches grass puncheons grass shelled corn dried beans in leather bag were more than six feet deep and stored surplus food such as corn, beans, and dried squash that was later traded to nomadic tribes.
Green corn harvest began shortly after the squash harvest. The green corn was eaten fresh from the fields and the rest was left to ripen with some ears shelled and kernels ground into flour. Other ears were suspended on racks by braiding the husks together. The best corn was kept for seed for the following year.

 
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureNative Americans.
 
Location. 46° 56.268′ N, 100° 54.129′ W. Marker is near Bismarck, North Dakota, in Burleigh County. Marker can be reached from Double Ditch Loop. Marker is on skids so location may vary slightly. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bismarck ND 58503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mandan Origin Stories (within shouting distance of this marker); Hunting and Gathering (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bullboats
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(about 500 feet away); Double Ditch State Historic Site (about 600 feet away); Stone Shelter (about 600 feet away); Square Buttes (about 700 feet away); Potande and the Mandan Fishery (about 800 feet away); Glaciation and Forming the Missouri River Trench (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bismarck.
 
Also see . . .  Double Ditch State Hist. Site. (Submitted on January 10, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 10, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on January 10, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 25, 2021