Double Ditch Construction Nears Completion

A construction project in North Bismarck is wrapping up just in time for the winter weather.
Conservation efforts to the Double Ditch Indian Village began just a few months ago.

Double Ditch Indian Village has over 700 years of history and the area has been considered the best preserved archaeological site in the Northern Plains.
The 2011 flood caused so much erosion that many ancient burials were exposed. 

Calvin Grinnell; Historian for MHA Nation: "Because of the erosion, 2,000 feet was eroding into the river on this shoreline. In fact, there were nearly 200 burials that were exposed."

With this project, it gave the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation a chance to relocate the burials.
This was a collaboration between the state historical society and the tribes.

Fern Swenson; Director of Archeology and Historic Preservation Division: "We worked very closely with MHA on this site, since it's a Mandan site.. it's just so rewarding to have the excellent dialogue that goes back and forth so that we find out their wishes for the site as well as what we'd like to see."

Through this project, it was a step the state and tribes took to rebuild relations.

Calvin Grinnell; Historian for MHA Nation: "Working together with the state is a very positive thing."

In the coming weeks, prairie grass, cottonwoods and willows will be planted and a canoe port added.

Fern Swenson; Director of Archeology and Historic Preservation Division: "The whole bank that was eroding so severely has been reshaped and then the trail was moved a bit to the west after the reshaping of the bank."

One of the new additions to this area is this walking and biking trail, which will be open to the public once everything is ready to go next month.

Calvin Grinnell; Historian for MHA Nation: "It's very gratifying to see all this done."

The historical society will work with the Mandan Hidatsa Arika tribes over the winter months to plan celebration of the project's completion - which will be held sometime in the spring! 

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