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UA Grad Student Co-Produces Documentary

Wendi F. Murray, a doctoral candidate of archaeology and applied anthropology, has co-written and co-produced a new documentary, "The People of the Upper Missouri: The Mandans,” on the history, traditions and material culture of the Mandan people.

The film relies on historic images, interviews and "ethnographic and archaeological data that trace 800 years of Mandan resilience, adaptability and continuity," Murray said. 

After completing her comprehensive exams at the UA, Murray was hired as an archaeologist and collections manager for the State Historical Society of North Dakota. She worked with producer Michael Frohlich and assisted Fern Swenson, who directs the Archaeology and Historic Preservation Division, in writing and editing the film script. She also worked with Calvin Grinnell, tribal historian for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

As a UA master's student, Murray studied the Upper Missouri region and each of the tribal nations and was pleased to learn the documentary was underway when she took the job. Murray said: “Because the subject matter was very familiar to me, I became involved in the project on my first day, and ended up working on it almost exclusively for the first few months of my employment."