NDSU Center for Heritage Renewal receives grants to study Dakota War battlefields

The Center for Heritage Renewal at NDSU has received two new research grants from the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service. The first grant, in the amount of $26,473, funds historical research, archeological survey and digital mapping of sites associated with the 1862-64 Dakota War in Dakota Territory. The second grant, in the amount of $62,761, funds a more concentrated study of one particular battlefield of the war, the site of the Battle of Killdeer Mountain in 1864.

Tom Isern, NDSU University Distinguished Professor of history and center director, is the principal investigator. “The Dakota War was a genesis event for North Dakota,” said Isern. “It was both destructive and formative, generating the conditions under which we live still today. And the Battle of Killdeer Mountain is the Gettysburg of the Plains. We are delighted to help bolster public knowledge of these significant events.”

Key center personnel for the research on Dakota War sites are Richard Rothaus, CEO of Trefoil Cultural and Environmental, a well-known cultural resource management firm, and Aaron Barth, NDSU doctoral candidate in history. Native scholars collaborating with the center on this line of research include Tamara St. John, Dakota Goodhouse and others.

The center already is at work on a study of the Siege of Fort Abercrombie in 1862, also funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program. The three active research grants from the National Park Service anchor a general research and programming initiative exploring the Dakota War in Dakota Territory.

The Center for Heritage Renewal was established by the State Board of Higher Education “to identify, preserve and capitalize on the heritage resources of North Dakota and the northern plains.”

For more information, contact Isern at isern@plainsfolk.com.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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