Charles Michael Ray

SDPB News Producer

Charles Michael Ray grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota on the banks of Boxelder Creek downstream from the town of Nemo.

He began working for South Dakota Public Radio as a reporter in 1992 at the age of 19. He worked his way through college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and received a degree in Geology in 1997.  He then worked as a freelance journalist in the Czech capital of Prague.  After a year overseas he returned home to continue his work at SDPB-Radio and to get back to the Black Hills. 

Over the years his work has been recognized with numerous awards and fellowships.  He's won two national Edward R. Murrow awards and a National Scripps Howard News Service award. In 2006 Ray was a finalist in the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. In 2009 he was selected as a Logan Science Journalist Polar Fellow.  He has won 25 regional Murrow Awards since 2004 and over 40 awards from the Associated Press since 1993.

Ray and his wife Andrea live in Rapid City. He still enjoys spending time at the family home in the Black Hills.  He's an avid kayaker and also enjoys ice hockey, mountain unicycling, backpacking, and several other outdoor activities.   


1:50 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Dakota Midday: Cold Spray Technology

Christian Widener.

Charles Widener, Director of the Arbegast Materials Processing and Joining Lab at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, discussed Cold Spray Technology which was developed at the school.  It received funding from the Defense Department and from the South Dakota office of economic development.  Cold Spray Technology is used to repair metal, like on airplanes or large machines.

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4:00 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Lakota Emergence Exhibit Ties Past And Present

Artist Angela Babby
The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies

A four day event at the Dahl Art center celebrates the living history and art of Lakota people.  

The Lakota Emergence exhibit runs through Saturday.  It aims to connect the Lakota creation story and a number of artifacts from the Sioux Indian Museum to new works by 16 different contemporary Lakota artists.

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3:48 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Dakota Midday: Combating Sexual Assault in Rapid City

This is Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For years Rapid City has shown higher than average numbers of reported rape according to FBI crime data. In 1993 and again in 2003 Rapid City was the number one city in the nation for reported rape per-capita. Since then the community has taken on a number of efforts to combat the problem. A few members of the community explain their work on the issue.

You can find more information and resources by visiting the Working Against Violence website.

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2:47 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Dakota Midday: Author Advocates Metabolic Theory of Cancer

The metabolic theory of cancer has been rejected by the scientific establishment, but in his book, Tripping Over the Truth, South Dakota author Travis Christofferson argues for taking a closer look at alternative cancer research. The metabolic theory is that cancer is not a genetic disease, but rather a disease of metabolism. Christofferson’s book looks at the history of cancer research over the last century.

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3:09 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Dakota Midday: Bad Art Press

South Dakota is well known for its Native Art. The success of businesses like Prairie Edge in downtown Rapid City is a good example. But what is the boundary between something that’s considered Native Art and something that is just art?

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7:08 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Protests Against Racism Continue In Rapid City

Parents and students form American Horse School at the front of a protest march from the Civic Center band shell to City Hall.

Roughly 100 people took part in a peaceful march against racism in Rapid City this Thursday afternoon.

Protestors expressed anger over what they see as unfair treatment of Native people in the justice system and unfair economic conditions.

Marchers included 77 year old Dennis Banks-who was a founding member of the American Indian Movement.  

Banks took part in the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973 and says he’s had to come back to Rapid City too often over the years to join in protest marches like this.

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12:59 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Rapid Race Relations Meeting Tackles Tough Issues

About 80 people attended a meeting in Rapid City on Wednesday intent on healing racial divisions following an alleged attack on Native children attending a minor league hockey game in January and a police shooting that left a Lakota man dead in December.   

The meeting began in a large circle, participants then broke into small groups and worked through a series of questions, at the end they gathered back into a circle to share ideas.

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1:30 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

LNI Future In Rapid City Uncertain

Students competing in the traditional hand game at the Lakota National Invitational in Rapid City. The LNI draws schools from around the region for everything from basketball to an art show.

The Director of the Lakota Nation Invitational, Bryan Brewer says the future of the event in Rapid City is in question.  The annual high school tournament is among the largest events of the year in the area.  It generates millions of dollars in economic impact.

But the LNI board of directors is considering pulling the tournament out of Rapid City in the wake of an alleged attack on Native children at a minor league hockey game.  
LNI officials say they have decided to keep the tournament in Rapid City for now.  But Brewer says that decision is not yet final.  

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4:38 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Church Sex Abuse Statute Of Limitations Stands

Those who say they suffered childhood sexual abuse by clergy will have to comply with 2010 statute of limitations after a narrow vote by a state legislative committee.

In 2010, with the backing of church lobbyists, state lawmakers approved a new statute of limitations restricting some types of civil litigation in childhood sex abuse cases.  Proponents testified that alleged abuse in Catholic Indian Boarding Schools happened so long ago few of the accused are alive to defend themselves.

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2:28 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Jewel Cave Passes 175th Mile

Cavers at the 175th Mile. Blase Lasala, Ian McMillan, Carl Bern, Dan Austin, Rene Ohms, and Chris Pelczarski.
Dan Austin NPS

Jewel Cave is now 175 miles long. The new mile marker was reached this past weekend. Jewel remains the third longest cave in the world.

Six cave explorers mapped the 175th mile near a room called the “Crushing Deep”  during a four day trip into newly discovered areas. On Valentine’s Day, team members named one the of the new passageways they found "The Heartland Express." The next day they pushed into a previously unexplored area in the far southwest corner of the cave and mapped a new deepest point at 677 feet below the surface.

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8:42 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Disorderly Conduct Charge Angers Some Native Parents

An 88 page affidavit in the disorderly conduct case includes witnesses who say the kids were told to “go back to the rez.”

A Philip man is being charged with disorderly conduct after an incident involving Native American children at a hockey game in January.

A complaint was filed against 41 year old Trace O’Connell of Phillip in seventh Circuit Magistrate Court.  The charges include a maximum penalty of 30-days in jail and a $500 fine.
Parents and students left the January 24, 2015, hockey game early after some students were allegedly doused with beer.
SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports that some of the parents in the case are angry over the outcome of the investigation.

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2:24 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Dakota Midday: Voices of Rapid City Anti-Racism Rally

Signs from the Stand Strong Against Racism Rally in Rapid City
Credit Charles Michael Ray SDPB

The Stand Strong Against Racism Rally in front of the Rapid City Civic Center drew a crowd of roughly 350 people Tuesday night. The rally was in response to an incident at a January hockey game in which students from the American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation were reportedly showered with beer and racial slurs.

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Code Switch
4:16 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Authorities Probe Alleged Hate Crime Against Native American Kids

Oglala Sioux leaders and city officials at a press conference following the incident discuss possible charges, which could include child abuse, hate crimes and assault.
Charles Michael Ray South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 5:55 pm

An investigation into a possible hate crime is underway in Rapid City, S.D., after a group of men allegedly assaulted Native American kids at a minor league hockey game. The incident angered many in the community, and racial tensions in Rapid City are running high.

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6:00 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Lawmakers Consider A Study On Elder Abuse.

Senator David Novstrup is a prime sponsor of SB 168.

Lawmakers on the State Senate Retirement Committee want to see more study on the problem of elder abuse. 

Committee members approved Senate Bill 168.  It creates a legislative task force to examine the issue.  

Republican State Senator Dave Novstrup is a prime sponsor of the bill.   He says the task force needs to examine all the ways seniors could be abused.

Novstrup says in order to tackle the problem lawmakers need to understand the extent of emotional, physical, and financial abuse of the elderly in South Dakota.

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10:10 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Hate Crime Charges Possible After Incident At Rush Game

The group of American Horse School children were sitting below the Q box in the Rush ice hockey arena when the men above poured beer and shouted racial slurs at them.

An incident at Saturday night’s Rush hockey game in Rapid City may result in hate crime and assault charges.

57 students from American Horse School were on a trip from Pine Ridge to attend the game as reward for good behavior and academic achievement.  
But in the third period a group of white men in a rented suite above the children’s seating area allegedly poured beer down on to the students and shouted racial slurs.   

The school group left the game early out of concern for student safety.

You can hear the rest of the story by clicking play below.

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5:15 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Racism Alleged At Rush Hockey Game

An incident of alleged racism at a weekend Rush hockey game against a group of Native American school children has angered many in the Rapid City community.

The group of about 50 students and chaperones from American Horse School on Pine Ridge were attending the game with their principal.  The outing was a reward for good behavior and academic achievement.

But a group of men in a VIP corporate box allegedly threw beer  on some of the children and then shouted racial slurs, the students and chaperones reportedly left the game early after the incident.

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1:51 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Dakota Midday: A Quarter-Century after the Year of Reconciliation

Governor George Mickeslon
Credit SDPB

25 years ago, Oglala Lakota newspaper publisher Tim Giago wrote a column challenging then-Governor George Mickelson to proclaim 1990 a Year of Reconciliation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wounded Knee. That same year he wrote an editorial calling for the state to change Columbus Day to Native American Day. In an interview for Dakota Midday, Giago reflects on the last 25 years and the current state of race relations in South Dakota.

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12:09 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Thune / Obama Disagree On Climate Action

U.S. Senator John Thune.

Climate scientists largely agree that global warming is a problem to be taken seriously.    

But there is no similar consensus among politicians on this topic.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray compares Presidents Obama’s statements on climate change in Tuesday’s State of the Union Address to reaction from Republican leader U.S. Senator John Thune. 

Click play below to hear more.

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2:21 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Dakota Midday: Economic Development in Indian Country

Carl Artman
Credit U.S. Department of the Interior

As the former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, Carl Artman oversaw the BIA during the Bush Administration between 2007 and 2008.  Artman is a member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin and a professor at the Arizona State University College of Law. He’s director of the University’s Tribal Economic Development Program.  SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray spoke with Artman for Dakota Midday about efforts to build economies on tribal lands in South Dakota.

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1:01 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Group Accuses Diocese Of Naming Building After Alleged Sex Offender

The group called SNAP–Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests–is critical of the Sioux Falls Diocese for naming a homeless shelter after a bishop who was accused of sex abuse by three separate individuals.    
Bishop Paul Dudley who died in 2006 at the age of 79 was cleared after an internal church investigation.  Dudley was not brought before law enforcement as the statute of limitations had expired. 

You can hear this story by clicking play below.

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3:08 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

SD "Last Battleground" On KXL

Chris Fire Thunder points out the planned route of the Keystone Pipeline at a protest camp near Rosebud. The "Spirit Camp" is being occupied in protest of KXL.

The Nebraska Supreme Court left in place a state law that gives the governor the power to approve Keystone XL pipeline.

You can hear the story by clicking play below.

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1:51 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Native Community Organizes Following Tragedy

A rally against police brutality last month in Rapid City.

Several members of Rapid City's Native American community are coming together to form a new organization aimed at improving race relations.

The move follows a police shooting last month involving Allen Locke, a Native American man in Lakota homes.  The shooting occurred about 24-hours after Locke attended a rally against police brutality.

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2:36 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Dakota Midday: Dick Termes

Dick Termes and his Termespheres
Credit Dick Termes

Dick Termes is one of South Dakota’s best known and most unique artists. But instead of painting on a flat canvas, he paints on spheres. His "Termespheres" are complex paintings utilizing six point perspective. They’re usually hung by small chains and rotated by electric motors to reveal a complete world. But the Northern Black Hills artist returns to the basics of drawing in a new instructional DVD called Basic Elements of Drawing. The goal of the DVD is to help anyone learn to draw.

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11:37 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Laughter And Learning At The Lakota Language Bowl

Philomine Lakota is a co-organizer of the Lakota Language Bowl at the Lakota nation Invitational and a Lakota language teacher at Red Cloud High School.
Credit Red Cloud Indian School /

The Lakota Nation Invitational concluded last week.  It’s one of the biggest events of the year in Rapid City featuring 2,500 students from schools across the region competing in everything from basketball to an art show.

LNI also incudes a Lakota Language Knowledge Bowl.  Organizers say it makes preserving the language fun for kids.

(Click play below to hear more.)

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12:04 am
Mon December 22, 2014

"Erosion Of Confidence" 15 Years Later

Protestors at Friday's anti police brutality rally chant "hands up don't shoot," on Friday

This story examines police and race relations in Rapid City 15 years after the US Civil Rights Commission came to South Dakota and issued this report citing a lack of trust in law enforcement by Native Americans.

Listen to the story here:



Race relations and allegations of police brutality are among the top national headlines this year, from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City scenes like this are playing out in mass protests.

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3:21 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Dakota Midday: School of Mines Professor Advises Mongolia on Dams

Dr. Scott Kenner
Credit South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

The people of Mongolia are considering damming some of their rivers.  The United States saw a huge push to build dams in the 1950’s, including series of dams on the Missouri River. While dams in the U.S. brought huge benefits, they also brought problems, including changing the natural balance and displacing residents.

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2:51 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

The Native Vote And Future Elections

Frank Waln is one of a number of Lakota young people encouraging their peers to vote.
Credit Matika Wilbur

The 2014 election is well over.   But for some it’s not too soon to start thinking about 2016 or even 2020 and beyond. This is especially true if your goal is to get school age kids interested in voting.

An effort to increase voter turnout in tribal communities in South Dakota is continuing–and some say the 2014 election shows past efforts paid off.

You can find out more about Sicangu Lakota Artist Frank Waln at his website here.

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12:56 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Deep Underground Gravity Lab Hunts Mystery Waves

Jamey Tollefson, Industrial Technician, and Tanner Prestegard, graduate student at the University of Minnesota, connect fiber optics for the seismometers on the 4850 level.
Credit Sanford Lab Science Liaison Director Jaret Heise / SDSTA

An array of seismographs positioned throughout the former Homestake Mine can detect earthquakes that happen on the other side of the planet.

The NSF funded research at the Sanford Lab aims to learn more about how earthquake waves travel through rock.

The research could also help scientists establish a next generation gravity wave detector.

Click play below to hear more.

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3:23 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Native Americans, Landowners Protest Keystone XL Pipeline In South Dakota

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 5:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



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1:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Asian Fungus Attacks Tiger Salamander

The Tiger Salamander may be vulnerable to a foreign fungus brought in through the pet trade.
Credit USD Graduate Student Drew Davis

South Dakota is home not only to mountain lions, but also tigers--tiger salamanders that is.

If you know where to look, you can find tiger salamanders across the state.    
But researchers fear these shy often elusive creatures could be wiped out by an invasive fungus that could come in from the Asian pet trade.

Click play below to hear more.

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