Dakota Digest

A new SDPB Podcast

A podcast delivering the best SDPB programming.

Click here for the Dakota Digest archives prior to Sept. 2012. Current archives are available by scrolling down.

Dakota Digest for October 9, 2015

5 hours ago
Jennifer Jones / SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, former South Dakota Governor Walter Dale Miller's funeral and US Senator Mike Rounds comments on the debt ceiling lead headlines. We also take a look into a Doctor's encouraging screenings to prevent colon cancer, and a Cherokee artist is donating his work to Black Hills State University. For more weekly stories and other South Dakota Public Broadcasting programming, visit sdpb.org.

Follow our twitter accounts: @SoDakPB, @SDPBNews, @SDPBSports, and @SDPB

Dakota Digest for October 2, 2015

Oct 2, 2015
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, the Harrisburg School shooting and the death of former South Dakota Governor Walter Dale Miller are the headlines. Be sure to visit our website, sdpb.org for complete coverage and programing from South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Follow our twitter accounts: @SoDakPB, @SDPBNews, @SDPBSports, and @SDPB

Dakota Digest for September 25, 2015

Sep 25, 2015

This week’s edition of Dakota Digest features Kealey Bultena reporting on the Platte murder-suicide investigation, Charles Michael Ray examining improved efforts for tribal state relations, Jennifer Jones discusses a 90-year old Granite Quarry near Milbank, and the Pope visits the United States.

All of this and more on this week’s edition of Dakota Digest.

Black Hills Symphony Orchestra Turns 80

Dec 24, 2014
Courtesy Black Hills Symphony Orchestra

It’s Christmas Eve. Time for last-minute shopping, final gift-wrapping and 11th-hour preparations for celebrations that lie ahead. Through it all, we hear music – at home, at work, in shopping malls and even on the streets. And though popular standards by crooners from Frank Sinatra to Harry Connick may fill the air, traditional songs can also be heard – frequently played by symphony orchestras.

Elders Take Stand Against Dog Roundups

Dec 4, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

As the Oglala Sioux Tribe announced plans to begin rounding up dogs on November 29, elders across the Pine Ridge Reservation began gathering to discuss how to counter what they felt was a knee-jerk reaction by tribal leadership to the recent death of 8-year old Jayla Rodriguez.

Although everyone seems to agree that there’s an overpopulation of dogs on Pine Ridge…arbitrarily choosing to shoot any dog that’s not confined isn’t the traditional Lakota way.

Nagase Completes Badlands Tapestry Garden

Nov 7, 2014
Photo by Masayuki Nagase

Masayuki Nagase has completed the second year of work on his Passage of Wind and Water sculpture at Rapid City’s Main Street Square. The finished art piece will reflect the archeological, geological and cultural history of the Badlands and the Black Hills. We visited with the artist to discuss what he’s accomplished on the 5-year project so far, and what’s on the agenda for 2015.

Nagase Sculpture Inspires Community Artists

Nov 4, 2014
Courtesy Kenny Putnam

  The Passage of Wind and Water sculpture has been the focal point of Rapid City’s Main Street Square for the past two years. But the country’s largest privately-funded public art project has also had an impact on other areas – from schools, to cultural bridge-building, to local businesses and social networking. We visit the opening of an exhibit at Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries to see how the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture is also impacting the area's art community. 

Courtesy Badlands National Park - Rikk Flohr

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB is featuring stories that rediscover our identity and heritage through the people, places, and ideas that make this state unique. Although there are many arid areas across the country that bear the name, there’s only one “Badlands” National Park – and it’s located in South Dakota. We visited this former site of an ancient sea to learn more about the area the Lakota have called “Bad Land” for centuries.

Native American Cowboys and Dancers

Oct 15, 2014
Courtesy Clarice Lakota

 A Lakota teen from Rapid City is the first person in the history of the Black Hills Pow Wow to introduce the “Hat and Boot Dance” into the annual event’s huge arena. The dance style pays homage to the long Lakota relationship with the horse along with their link to cowboy hats, chaps, lariats and boots…which traces back more than one-hundred years.

Sittin' Down With Kenny Putnam

Oct 7, 2014
Courtesy Kenny Putnam

 An intimate discussion with local legend and South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame fiddler Kenny Putnam. Join us as Kenny talks about his initial desire to play the cello, his early years in school orchestras, touring with the Red Willow Band, being part of “country-western guitarist-extraordinaire” Roy Clark’s world-renowned band and his return to South Dakota from a 15-year stint on the road – where Kenny now operates his own design and photo restoration business; when he’s not traveling somewhere across the state to play the fiddle.


Lakota Strategize For Black Hills Return

Sep 29, 2014
Wikipedia file photo

The fight for the return of the Black Hills to the Lakota people may seem like a lost cause to many…but not for those who claim original rights to the land. We visit with Lakota elders and several of their well-known supporters to discuss the decades-old issue and examine plans to take the battle to the White House.

Unity Concert For Return Of Black Hills

Sep 19, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

Hundreds of people from across the country and around the world gathered on a field near Piedmont recently with one goal in mind…returning the Black Hills to the Lakota people. We attend the 2-day “Unity Concert” and speak with music legends, Native activists, tribal elders and international performers to learn why they’ve joined forces in the decades-old cause.

Courtesy Kenny Putnam

It’s always nice for a musician to receive recognition for their work, whether by applause, a standing ovation or an award. Reaching the point where your ability is so acclaimed you’re chosen to be in a Hall of Fame, however, is a rare honor indeed. But as we discover, the induction of one musician into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame came as no surprise to someone who worked with the man from the U.S. to Moscow. 

South Dakota Photographers Reflect on Their Craft

Aug 19, 2014
Joseph Nicephore Niepce

2014 brings the 175th anniversary of photography, being celebrated with “A Day in South Dakota”.  It’s an opportunity for people to take photos of what living in the state means to them, and send them along as a video archive of the day.  Collecting memories and recording history have obviously moved along as technology has improved photos and made them simple enough to take.  

Photo by Jim Kent

A financial institution on the Pine Ridge Reservation is giving Lakota tribal members the opportunity to conduct banking transactions within close proximity to their homes for the first time in history. The Lakota Federal Credit Union also allows tribal members to not only save money, but to invest in fellow tribal members.

But you can’t save or invest unless you open an account and make deposits.

Replacing Aging Pools

Aug 12, 2014
Heidi Kronaizl

  Diving into a pool is a great way to cool off on a hot and humid summer day. While many towns across the state have aging pools, the process of getting new pools and upkeep isn’t so easy on a small town budget.

The sound may never get old of summer time at the pool. But pools get old. The Vermillion City Pool is almost 50. Because that’s the expected lifespan of any pool, the city is looking to build a new one. Jim Goblirsch is the Director of the Vermillion City Parks and Recreation. He says the current pool has 2-inch wide cracks and leaks about 12,000 gallons of water a day.

Black Hills Burger & Bun Named Best

Aug 8, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

A restaurant in the Black Hills town of Custer has been named the best place in America to buy burgers by the travel website Trip Advisor. In a country where 40 billion burgers are consumed annually, that’s quite a moniker to live up to. Today we visit “Black Hills Burger and Bun” to find out what patrons think of the eatery’s new status and to do a little taste-testing himself.

Like the greater majority of people in America, I love a good burger. And though I eat a good many of them from my own kitchen…..

Gary Ellenbolt

Kids who love baseball are known to pick a favorite player and emulate his batting style. Maybe they'll hitch up their pants before they go to the plate--or hold the bat high off the shoulder with the front foot behind the back foot. In the past few years, kids have copied another part of the at-bat; the walk-up song that plays when a player comes to the plate or to the mound to enter the game.  


In South Dakota prairie dogs have the plague.

The disease can kill off whole colonies and it hurts the effort to restore endangered species like the Black Footed Ferret.  

In order to preserve prairie dogs and ferrets in certain areas a new vaccine is being developed.  Researchers are now testing the vaccine in the field at Wind Cave National Park.


Native Artists Gather At Main Street Square

Jul 23, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

Rapid City’s Main Street Square celebrated the second annual “Gathering of People, Wind and Water”. The Native American art market and cultural celebration is designed to use the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture project as an inspiration for cross-cultural awareness and appreciation.

One of Masayuki Nagase’s goals in creating the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture in the heart of Rapid City is to offer an environment where people of all races and cultures can gather to share their stories.

Sculptor Returns To Main Street Square

Jul 11, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

The country’s largest privately-funded public art project - “Passage of Wind and Water” - has resumed at Rapid City’s Main Street Square. We  spent some time with the artist to discuss his plans for the second year of work on a sculpture that’s scheduled for completion in 2017.

It’s a lot cooler in Rapid City than its been and it’s a perfect day for the gathering planned to welcome back Masayuki Nagase for his second year of work on the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture project.

Courtesy High Plains Western Heritage Center

As citizens across the country celebrate our nation’s independence tomorrow, the High Plains Western Heritage Center is also putting time aside to recognize the American Cowboy. We visited the Spearfish museum to learn what it was like to raise cattle for a living and to discuss efforts by a 9-state coalition to mark the historic trail that brought cattle north from Texas to South Dakota and beyond.

Photo by Joleen Zoller

The “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture project at Rapid City’s Main Street Square is having an impact on diverse sections of the Black Hills community – from local students to area and regional artists. We visited the Rapid City Performing Arts Center recently for a cross-artistic theater presentation featuring modern dance, film, poetry, and music inspired by the largest privately-funded art project in the country.

Tribal Members Comment On Presidential Visit

Jun 13, 2014
Courtesy Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Following up on a promise made last Fall to tribal leaders from across the country, President Barack Obama is on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota today. And though a presidential visit is a big event in any part of the country, feelings on this Native American land that stretches across 2 states is being met with mixed feelings.

Reptile Gardens Makes Guiness Book

Jun 12, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB is featuring stories that rediscover our identity and heritage through the people, places, and ideas that make this state unique. Although most people across the country might consider us as “Small Town, U.S.A.”, many of our “places” are world-class. Today we visit a Black Hills institution that just made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in its class.

Hoka Coffee Creates Rez Brew

May 30, 2014
Courtesy Hoka! Coffee

The Lakota are known for their strong cultural beliefs and traditions, their respect for all creatures – especially the buffalo, their sense of humor and their love of gatherings – large and small – that revolve around food. Always present at these gatherings – regardless of the season, is coffee.

Today we visit with a young woman on the Pine Ridge Reservation who decided to honor her own love of the coffea shrub – and that of the Lakota people – by establishing her own coffee company.

Non-Profit Provides Vet Services For Rez Dogs

May 19, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

 A non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Reservation was founded with two primary goals in mind: care for the animals on the home lands of the Oglala Lakota, especially dogs…and reduce the population of “man’s best friend” that wander through the reservation’s villages.

Today we visit with a group of women who are doing their best to achieve both those goals – one “sunka” dog at a time.

Managing Bison In The Badlands South Unit

May 16, 2014
Courtesy Badlands National Park

Transfer of Badlands National Park’s South Unit management to the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been an ongoing process since 2006. Plans for a series of public meetings on bison management in that area, and the sudden cancelation of those meetings, has raised red flags among tribal members as well as the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. Their joint concerns center on the intentions of the National Park Service and the Oglala Sioux tribe toward landowners and those who lease land near the South Unit.

Evans Plunge Re-Opens Under City Ownership

May 5, 2014
Courtesy City of Hot Springs

The Evans Plunge has been an important part of the small southern Black Hills town of Hot Springs for more than a century. Its warm waters have helped soothe those with physical ailments as well as provide a place for recreational activities to visitors and local residents alike. 

We visited “The Plunge” after its recent Grand Re-Opening to talk to community members about their views on the popular water spot’s new owners: the city of Hot Springs.

Mammoth Site Plans Expansion

Apr 23, 2014
Courtesy of The Mammoth Site

The Mammoth Site is one of the premiere tourist attractions in Hot Springs, bringing in some 100,000 visitors each year. These numbers have more than outgrown the facilities available for those who flock to Southwestern South Dakota from around the world to learn about the state’s ancient history.

Plans are underway to construct a 5000-square foot facility to provide more educational space for paleontology enthusiasts and, hopefully, more tourism income to the Hot Springs community.