Local historian presenting at Heritage CenterFort Buford (Williston, N.D.) Site Supervisor, Steven Reidburn, will present a review of recent buffalo soldiers research on Sunday, March 10 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.
By: Sharon Cox, The Jamestown Sun
Fort Buford (Williston, N.D.) Site Supervisor, Steven Reidburn, will present a review of recent buffalo soldiers research on Sunday, March 10 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.
Reidburn, formerly of Jamestown, has been overseeing the daily activities, programs and special events at Fort Buford and the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center since 2010.
Among his many tasks has been to research and present information on the history of the African-American Soldiers (buffalo soldiers) stationed at the fort and their role in establishing the territory’s only black Masonic Lodge, which was located on the military property.
The former Jamestown vector control officer graduated from Jamestown College in 2008 with a degree in history and a minor in art. He has been using his experiences and education year-round writing grants, handling event strategies and researching information about the soldiers and important people who lived and worked at the Fort Buford site.
While living more than 40 years in Jamestown, he was involved in the management and Reconstruction Committee of Fort Seward, the protection of sacred burial sites and the care and maintenance of historic sites and relics.
As a student, under the tutelage of Drs. Timothy Bratton and Mark Joy, he participated in historic excavations at Fort Seward and other sites. He has applied what he learned at the remote Williston location.
According to news releases from the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Reidburn has been a part of a trio of “Sensational Second Sundays,” where he and two other supervisors have given, and will be giving, accounts of remote SHSND sites and their newest activities.
These started in February with “Oscar Zero,” Reidburn on March 10 with “Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Buford,” and April 14, with “Historic Sleuthing.” All events are at 2 p.m. in the main Heritage Center Lobby.
Reidburn began his tenure at Fort Buford with national and state art exhibits, including a show of work by Jamestown native, Brock Drenth.
Other Jamestown residents who have been booked at Fort Buford include the vocal group “Cheaper Than Therapy,” which has been at the rotunda twice for special events. County Commissioner Dale Marks and his wife Ann did special programs last summer during an infantry encampment on black powder rifles and campground cooking, and Bratton spoke during the cemetery walk last year. I had two art exhibits there and gave a week-long summer watercolor workshop at Fort Buford emphasizing Karl Bodmer and Philip deTrobriand, artists of the Civil War and post war periods.
During his first summer, Reidburn led a 130 year anniversary celebration of Sitting Bull at Fort Buford. He coordinated activities for the noted warrior’s great-grandson, Ernie LaPointe and his wife Sonja, with the unveiling of a life-size Sitting Bull sculpture on the campus of Williston State College.
So as he did at JC as a student, he is doing now. He’s researching newly discovered data, verifying facts as he networks through journals, newspapers and surviving kin of former Fort Buford soldiers. It is an exciting collection of data that he continues to explore. He will bring his current findings to the program on March 10.
More information may be found via the curator of education, Eric Holland at www.nd.history.gov, or by calling him at 701-328-2792.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.