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National Historic Landmark MENOKEN INDIAN VILLAGE SITE
North Dakota

Location: Burleigh County, just off U.S. 10-83, about 1-1/4 miles north of Menoken.

Ownership and Administration. State of North Dakota.

Significance. The Mandan village located at this site was probably the one visited by the French explorer La Vérendrye in 1738. He described it as a fort built on a small hill in the open prairie. It contained about 130 dwellings and was surrounded by a palisade that had four bastions, outside of which was a defensive ditch 15 feet deep and 15 to 18 feet wide. While at the village, La Verendyre heard of five other villages located nearby on "the river," and sent his son to visit them. After visiting only the nearest village on a 1-day trip, the son reported that it was situated "on the bank of the river," and that it was twice as big as the one they were in. He added that "the palisade and fortification there are . . . built in the same style as that in which we were."

The references are undoubtedly to the Missouri River and to the five earth lodge villages dating from the La Vérendrye period whose sites have been found at the mouth of the Heart River in North Dakota. The Menoken Indian Village is the only known fortified Mandan village of the period that is located eastward and within 1 day's journey of the Heart River villages. The ditch surrounding the site is still clearly visible, and archeological investigation has produced evidence of a palisade that had four bastions. Thus, this village was probably the one visited by La Vérendrye.

Present Appearance. The site has been well preserved by the State of North Dakota, which calls it the Menoken Indian Village Archeological Site. [60]

NHL Designation: 07/19/64

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005