Arrowheads and bullets - one so powerless against the other - are part of a military and Plains Indian artifact collection that will be unveiled to the public June 5 at Dickinson State University.
The collection of 1,500 historical items from the 1864 Battle of Killdeer Mountain site belongs to Alick and Grayce Dvirnak, whose Diamond C ranch encompasses the battle grounds.
The Dvirnaks agreed to have their collection displayed at DSU's Theodore Roosevelt Center in Stoxen Library, where the unveiling will begin at 4 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. social at the university's Alumni and Foundation House.
The Dvirnak family has been on the ranch since 1928 and the spear points, casings, stone pipes and pottery fragments have been collected by them over all these years. Their agreement with the university is part of the family's desire to share the collection with the public and preserve the history and heritage of western North Dakota.
Alick Dvirnak will speak at the event, as will Theodore Roosevelt Center director Clay Jenkinson and DSU president Richard McCallum.
The Diamond C Ranch dates to 1880 and its brand is the second oldest registered in the state. The original ranch owner, William Crosby, was an acquaintance of Theodore Roosevelt, whose own history in the North Dakota Badlands includes an interlude at the ranch.
Jenkinson said the Roosevelt center will primarily be devoted to the president and the Dvirnak collection will help interpret the world Roosevelt moved through in North Dakota.
Alick Dvirnak has been recognized for preserving the history of western North Dakota by former Gov. George Sinner and the State Historical Society. He was honored by Plains Indians, when in 2001, Sioux tribes of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada gathered at the ranch to honor their battle dead and smoke a peace pipe with Alick Dvirnak.
The battle of 1864 was commanded by Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully, who led 2,200 cavalrymen on an attack against an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Sioux camped in the Killdeer Mountains.
Cannon fire and artillery forced the Sioux and unarmed men, women and children to flee north into the Badlands and behind them the soldiers destroyed all their possessions and set fire to the mountains.
Two soldiers are buried at the site; Sully estimated as many as 150 Plains Indians were killed.
Jenkinson said Alick Dvirnak is intimately acquainted with one of North Dakota's most interesting stories.
"(He) is a historian and a storyteller. He knows the Battle of Killdeer Mountain as well as anyone, and he's walked every inch of the ground," Jenkinson said.
The Dvirnak family, in a letter to the university, said it's pleased to bring recognition to Alick Dvirnak, a man whose life has been devoted to family, ranching and North Dakota history, especially the Battle of Killdeer Mountain.