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Hundreds of Native Americans gathered at Black Elk Peak for the annual “Welcome Back the Thunders” ceremony. It’s the first time the spring celebration has been held at the sacred site since it was renamed in honor of the Lakota leader.

The Lakota have gathered at Black Elk Peak for generations to celebrate the return of spring. Russell Eagle Bear is the Historic Preservation Officer for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He says the “Welcome Back the Thunders” ceremony acknowledges the rains that nurture the growth of life.

Photo by Jim Kent

In spite of losing their lands to settlers and the federal government, being displaced to reservations, having their ceremonies banned for nearly a century, and enduring the frequent persecutions of life in Christian and government boarding schools, the Lakota people have managed to retain much of their culture.  

SDPB’s Jim Kent recently visited the Pine Ridge Reservation to observe an eagle feather ceremony and spoke with 2 Lakota men about the tradition’s significance and its importance in today’s world.

2012 Al Neuharth Award Winner Marilyn Hagerty

Oct 4, 2012

Newspaper columnist and Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty, 86, a University of South Dakota alumna who was Al Neuharth's first editor 65 years ago, receives the 2012 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media this evening. Hagerty, who writes columns for the North Dakota Grand Forks Herald, drew widespread media attention earlier this year when her straightforward feature story about the opening of the first Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks went viral on the Internet, and led to coverage on television, in newspapers, on websites and in social media.