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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bismarck in Burleigh County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Hunting and Gathering

 
 
Hunting and Gathering Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
1. Hunting and Gathering Marker
Inscription.  While the Mandans relied heavily on the cultivation of plants, they were also skilled hunters. Bison hunting was as important as farming and bison were vital to the Mandan diet. Before the arrival of horses, bison were stalked individually, or driven in large numbers over cliffs or into corrals to be killed. Bison that had drowned in the fall and winter were taken out of the river when ice break-up occurred in the spring. As the frozen carcasses came down river, they were pulled out and processed.

The important role of bison in Mandan life was expressed in material culture but also in religious practices and ceremonies.

The Mandan people gathered many wild plants. Plants such as juneberries, chokecherries, plums, grapes, buffalo berries, strawberries, and prairie turnips were important food sources. People gathered wood from the river's bottomlands for lodge construction. They used the willows lining the banks of rivers and creeks to make baskets, mats and lodges, and grass for insulating lodges and cache pits. Green ash was ideal as a hard wood for the mortar and pestle or for handles for hoes or other tools. Plants were

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gathered for medicinal and ritual purposes. Plant knowledge accumulated over several generations of experience and observation. It was held by few people in the community and was transferred to apprentices gradually, over long periods of time.

Captions:
Dance of Mandan women wearing regalia of the White Buffalo Cow Society. Hats of the White Buffalo Cow Society were made of rectangular pieces of hi e from the sacred white buffalo.
Buckbrush brooms were used to sweep the earthlodges.
Much wood was needed for lodge construction. Wood and willows were gathered from the bottomland.
Waterscreened material from each excavation unit dries on canvas cots. All material is bagged and sorted under laboratory conditions. Faunal experts identify remains such as bison, deer, fish, rabbit, and elk that provided meat and were sources of hides, furs, plumage, and other raw materials.
Prairie turnips were harvested using a digging stick. These starchy roots, when peeled, could be eaten fresh, or dried and stored.
Chokecherries were processed with a grinding stone and were an important source of nutrition.

 
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureNative Americans.
 
Location.

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46° 56.325′ N, 100° 54.137′ W. Marker is in 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. Bullboats (within shouting distance of this marker); Mandan Origin Stories (within shouting distance of this marker); Mandans and the Practice of Farming (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Potande and the Mandan Fishery (about 400 feet away); Glaciation and Forming the Missouri River Trench (about 500 feet away); Square Buttes (approx. 0.2 miles away); Double Ditch State Historic Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stone Shelter (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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Mar. 9, 2021