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.   

Ways To Connect

The Journey Museum and Learning Center invites the public to a special Learning Forum that examines the  1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and introduces perspectives of the document as it applies today in 2015.  Dr. Craig Howe, founder of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies, will lead the conversation, providing insight into what is not known by many about the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.  Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions during the forum scheduled for Sunday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.

In a way, networking and building community in the digital age is easier than a generation ago.  A new connection in your field of work is sometimes just a Facebook click away.  But there is more to building community, business relationships and innovation than just social media.  This is where the group Pollen comes in.  The non-profit is based in Minnesota and the Dakotas.  Pollen is attempting to build cross community networks and relationships that spur new ideas and possibilities in the three-state region.  Pol

Rochelle Plocek / Custer State Park

The Custer State Park Buffalo Round Up is 50 years old, and for 44 of those years, Bob Lantis has been there.

At 80 years old Lantis is among the oldest wranglers still riding the event, four of his children also play leading roles in the annual round up.  You can hear more in the short story below.

Advance Health has announced it's locating a new office and customer service center in an unused building at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Company officials say the new site is its third location and they expect to fill more than 200 jobs during the next three-to-five years.

Molly Miles

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday morning that makes same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Now South Dakotans are reacting to the opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that says states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

South Dakota’s Attorney General says the same-sex marriage decision from the US Supreme Court is immediate. Marty Jackley says that means gay and lesbian couples can apply for marriage licenses in South Dakota right away.

Wind Cave National Park is now home to more than one significant cave.

Persistence Cave discovered at the park in 2004 and kept secret for over a decade is now being explored for the first time.

An initial sample shows the soil near the cave’s entrance contains a trove of fossils, including at least 22 different species of animals dating back at least 11,000 years.   Paleontologists from various institutions including the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs have joined in the study.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

During the 2015 legislative session, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced the creation of a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students to explore teacher pay and education funding.

Charles Michael Ray

Heavy rains overnight in the Black Hills have pushed Rapid Creek and nearby streams out of their banks.   

Flooding has overtopped bridges and roads in the eastern part of Rapid City and forced some road closures.

Alexa White with Pennington County Emergency Management says more rain is forecast and this could push water levels even higher.   

She says this could even cut of access to some low lying residential areas.

Chynna Lockett SDPB

The Pine Ridge Reservation is struggling with a rash of youth suicides. There have been at least 10 since December. And according to the federal Indian Health Service, there have been 103 attempts by people ages 12 to 24 this past December through March. In February, Oglala Sioux Tribe president John Yellow Bird Steele declared an emergency on the reservation in response to the suicides.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.