Photo by Jim Kent

The Chadron Public Library held its second annual Native American film festival this past weekend. The goal of the “Trading Stories: A Native American Film Festival” is to bring another perspective to the “Fur Trade Days Celebration” held each summer in the western Nebraska town. 

“Pow Wow Highway” was among the first films made by Native Americans about Native Americans that sought to break the stereotypes engrained in a century of Hollywood celluloid.

Photo by Jim Kent

As part of its second annual Native American film festival, the Chadron Public Library added traditional story tellers to its list of educational entertainment. 

Joyzelle Gingway Godfrey is Yankton Sioux and Ottawa. She started story telling in the Rapid City school system. The American Indian elder says she shares traditional stories as a way to educate people.

Thomas Pitz

All across the nation on Saturday, people will celebrate Independence Day with parades, band concerts and fireworks. It was on July 4, 1776 that the 13 American colonies declared that they were no longer a part of the British Empire, but instead a new country.

The principal author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson, who also served as the nation’s third president from 1801 and 1809. One of his major accomplishments in office was the Louisiana Purchase, a huge swath of territory including the future South Dakota.

South Dakota Dashboard

South Dakota had begun to narrow the education spending gap with neighboring states at the start of this decade, but state budget cuts in 2011 widened the difference and the gap has continued to grow in recent years. That’s according to an analysis of data by South Dakota Dashboard.

Patrick Dobson was a novice canoer when he launched his boat in Montana and began a journey down the Missouri River to Kansas City. A woman in Helena told him he was doomed. “That river’s gonna’ eat you,” she said. But Dobson had just finished a ten week walk to Montana from Kansas City and the Missouri was his way back home.

At the time of his journey in the summer of 1995, Dobson was tired of a dead-end job and feeling empty inside. His journey was a search for redemption and a way to help him reconnect with his life.

Reptile Gardens

When the United Nations was born in November of 1945, it didn’t have a home. Rapid City businessman Paul Bellamy thought the Black Hills would be the ideal place for world delegates to deliberate in peace and quiet. He even flew to war-torn London to make his case for making the Black Hills the Capitol of the World.

South Dakota Civil Air Patrol

The Civil Air Patrol was born one week before Pearl Harbor after volunteers with a love for aviation lobbied for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of the country. After World War Two, the Civil Air Patrol was given the mission areas of aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services.

Where can you find the best barbecue in the country? Kansas City? Austin? Memphis? Missouri writer and Navy Reserve Officer Johnny Fugitt wanted to find out. So, he quit his job and spent a year touring the country searching for the best barbecue joints.

During this weekend’s annual history conference of the State Historical Society in Pierre, Jean Kessloff will receive a Governor’s Award for History. She’s being recognized for her work in historic preservation in Rapid City. Kessloff is president of Historic Rapid City and has been a member of the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission since 2003.

With summer season officially underway, many South Dakotans are making plans for camping. In the May/June 2015 issue of South Dakota Magazine, special projects coordinator Rebecca Johnson writes about a few of the state's “primitive” campsites for those who want a more rugged adventure. The magazine also features a cover story about John Lopez’s “bone yard sculpture” and some advice for graduates from a South Dakota perspective. Johnson and managing editor John Andrews joined Dakota Midday and discussed a few of the current issue's highlights.

Dakota Midday: BEAR Project Founder 'Tiny' DeCory

May 26, 2015
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.

Millennials Asked To Capture State's Beauty In Photo Contest

May 26, 2015
Chad Coppess / SD Department of Tourism

With the passing of Memorial Day Weekend the official start of tourism season is here.   
But if you notice strangers snapping photos of your favorite places in South Dakota this summer there is a chance they are not visitors but locals.  
Officials with Black Hills State University and the South Dakota Department of Tourism are sponsoring a photo contest for students this summer.    The contest aims to help celebrate South Dakota as a vacation destination.

Click play below to hear the rest of the story.

Deadwood History Part Of Blue Star Museums

May 23, 2015
Courtesy NEA

Museums across the country will offer free admission to active duty U.S. military personnel and their families beginning on Memorial Day. The nationwide program is part of an effort to provide military families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after relocating to a new duty station.Deadwood History, Inc. is among the 2,000 sites across the country involved in the launch of “Blue Star Museums”.

Over the past two decades, the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series has compiled inspirational, true stories from regular people’s lives. The latest edition in the series, Time to Thrive: 101 Inspiring Stories about Growth, Wisdom and Dreams, includes a story by Marsha Warren Mittman about her bold decision to move to Spearfish. Friends and family took bets on how quickly she’d return home to New York City. 17 years later, she’s still in South Dakota.

In his book, Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder, Minnesota writer Kent Nerburn reluctantly agrees to a meeting with Dan, a Lakota elder who asks him to construct a book from a motley collection of notes and commentaries written over seven decades and kept in an old shoe box. Dan and his friend Grover take Nerburn on a ride through Lakota country in Dan's Buick.

Dakota Midday: Tim Giago's Boarding School Memories

Apr 29, 2015
Tim Giago

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, many American Indian children were sent away from their homes and families to attend government or church-operated boarding schools. Students were forced to cut their hair, give up traditional clothing and forbidden to speak their own language. The idea was to assimilate them completely into American culture. As the founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School Richard Henry Pratt said in 1892, “… all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man."

Running Wild Films

South of Hot Springs, some 600 mustangs run free in the 11,000 acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. It was established in 1988 by rancher, author and conservationist Dayton O. Hyde as a home for wild mustangs that were being rounded up and sometimes sold for slaughter.

Spearfish Canyon Tours

After taking a guided tour of Glacier National Park in Montana, Jon Pochop was struck by the lack of a guided tour of the natural beauty of the northern Black Hills. So last year the Spearfish businessman started Spearfish Canyon Tours. He worked with local author and historian Paul Higbee to give guides the local stories and historical background of the Spearfish area.

Black Hills State University

Local writer and historian Paul Higbee says Spearfish is the most western town he knows. Although it doesn’t dress “cowboy,” it was founded on the gold mining, cattle and lumber economies of the Old West and prospers in the farming and tourism economies of the New West.

Associated Press

In April of 1975, the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance was crumbling. The United States had just a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives left in the country in the wake of the Paris Peace Accords. With a North Vietnamese victory inevitable and the U.S. prepared to withdraw, many Americans on the ground worried about the safety of South Vietnamese allies, family and friends and scrambled to get them out of the country. After the Tan Son Nhut airport was hit by rockets, Vietnamese were evacuated via helicopters from the U.S.

Lakota Youth Summit Explores Talents

Apr 17, 2015
Courtesy Lakota Children’s Enrichment

A Youth Summit is scheduled to take place on the Pine Ridge Reservation this Saturday. Hosted by the non-profit Lakota Children’s Enrichment, the gathering will offer guidance in everything from gardening to art to spoken word poetry.

If you’re looking for someplace to have good food…expand your mind…and lay down some grooves…by speaking out poems or creating some art…Rockyford High School’s the place to start.

Petroglyphs Bring Lakota Origins To Life

Apr 16, 2015
Photo by Audrey Jacobs

In this high-tech world of instant communication it may be hard to imagine leaving a message for someone that might take hours or even days to compose…and that the recipient might not receive for hundreds of years.

But as we learned, along with a group of Lakota students, that’s exactly what ancient Indigenous people did in what’s come to be known as “rock art”.

The early spring sun is rising steadily in the sky as I board a school bus for a journey into the past.  

Lakota Students Find Past In Petroglyphs

Apr 16, 2015
Photo by Karla LaRive

In this high-tech world of instant communication it may be hard to imagine leaving a message for someone that might take hours or even days to compose…and that the recipient might not receive for hundreds of years.

But we learned, along with a group of Lakota students, that’s exactly what ancient Indigenous people did in what’s come to be known as “rock art”.


The origin of April 1st as a day for pranks and practical jokes is something of a mystery. The most commonly cited explanation is that it goes back to the 1500s when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, moving the new year from April to January. People in rural areas who were slow to get the news and continued to celebrate New Year in the spring were called April Fools. But this story is something of a hoax itself. There are references to April 1st as a day for pranks and jokes that date well before the 16th century.

In the summer of 1874, George Armstrong Custer led a military expedition into the Black Hills to choose a site for a new Army fort and investigate the area’s natural resources. The expedition’s discovery of gold attracted thousands of whites to the Black Hills in violation of the 1868 Laramie Treaty which protected Lakota ownership and hunting rights.

Swamp Thing is a humanoid mass of vegetable matter that fights to protect his swamp home, the environment and humanity from supernatural and other threats. The DC comic book character has been the subject of two movies, a television series and a five-part animated series.

Fassbender Collection

Five years ago the cities of Lead, Deadwood and Spearfish purchased the Fassbender photo collection. The  800,000 Black Hills photographs capture historic events such as presidential visits and the Spearfish Canyon Road grand opening as well as day-to-day life in the gold mines and on reservations. There are also wedding, graduation and family photos.

For the past thirty years, South Dakota Magazine has explored the state's varied cultures and landscapes. The magazine has captured the past and the present. It's shared stories from the main streets and back alleys and farms and ranches across the state. It's celebrated both the well-known and lesser-known South Dakotans who've the state unique.

Main Street Square Beach Party

Feb 27, 2015
Courtesy Main Street Square

The weather’s supposed to be “seasonable” in Rapid City this weekend…which, if you’ve lived here for any length of time you’ll realize, can mean almost anything. But some people think it’s actually a perfect opportunity for…a beach party.


South Dakota has 66 counties and 64 courthouses. The buildings are both majestic and beautiful. But their history is deeper than architecture. It’s an often colorful history including tales of deception and bribery as towns battled over county seats.

A new SDPB-TV documentary, Temples of Justice, tells the stories of the state’s county courthouses from territorial days to the present. It airs Thursday, February 26 at 8 pm, CT; 7 pm, MT.