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Craig and Rhonda Dvirnak, Killdeer, N.D., Published October 07 2013

Letter: Family will honor battlefield values

Since the middle of August, we have read with great interest, articles, editorials and letters to the editor about the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield site, etc.

We sure appreciated seeing another side to the story in the editorial titled: “State shouldn’t pick winners” in the Bismarck Tribune on Sept. 16. We have some light to shed on the concerns of the United Tribes of North Dakota, reported on KFYR news on Sept. 11 and reported in the Dickinson Press (article titled: “Tribes against power line at Killdeer site”) and in the Bismarck Tribune (article titled “Tribes opposing Basin project in battlefield” on Sept. 12).

In 1998, Calvin “Bear” First Jr. from the Fort Peck Sioux Treaty Council and a descendant of Medicine Bear, who fought here at the Killdeer Mountains, contacted us asking if he and other tribal members could come here and hold ceremonies to properly bury the warriors and others who died during the battle. We opened our property and our home from 1998 to 2001 to them and were honored to witness and be a part of the Releasing of the Spirit Ceremony held in 1999 and the Wiping of the Tears Ceremony held in 2001. Members of Sioux Tribes from Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, Canada and the Three Affiliated Tribes also were on hand to witness these ceremonies. (Reference newspaper articles from the Dickinson Press on Aug. 11, 1999, and from the Bismarck Tribune from Aug. 15, 2001, where Calvin First Sr. is quoted as saying: “Now the old people are happy; when we were here three years ago, we heard the old people crying and hollering from the hills. They’re hollering no more.”)

Through the years, the Dvirnak family has worked diligently to protect and preserve the Killdeer Battlefield area. Rest assured, we will continue to protect and preserve the Killdeer Battlefield site, the battlefield area and our ranch as we have in the past.