The Mandan Indians lived at Double Ditch village from about 1500 to 1781. This location was chosen with an eye towards defense overlooking the majestic Missouri River valley, where they planted gardens of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers. The Mandan villages were the center of continental intertribal trade for centuries and were renowned for their hospitality.
The Mandan knew their village as Yellow Earth Village. Archaeologists and settlers called the site “Double Ditch” based on the two visible fortification trenches located on site. In 1780, the Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna (Yanktonai) attacked the Mandan and took several Mandan into their tribe. The following year, a devastating epidemic of smallpox struck the Mandan forcing them to abandon their villages and move to Knife River.
In 1864, Charlotte Boucher, a “lost” daughter of the Mandan, was published in the Green Bay Advocate. Boucher was reported to be about 125 years of age. She was a little girl when she was captured in a raid on the Mandan. She never saw her people again.
Visit Double Ditch Indian Village with an indigenous guide and learn about the Mandan trade, horticulture, and defenses.
Hear the story of the “Lost Daughter of The Mandan.”
The site overlooks the Missouri River bottomlands where a conflict between the Mandan and the Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna took place.
Location & More
Where: Located along Highway ND-1804, in north Bismarck, ND Meeting place: Bismarck-Mandan CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau), located at 1600 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND Activity level: Some walking, handicap accessible paths. Duration: Starting at 11 am and lasting about an hour. Tour Guide: Dakota Goodhouse Price: $18/person