Originally published 05/01/2013
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A small patch of prairie sits largely unnoticed off a desolate road in southwestern South Dakota, tucked amid gently rolling hills and surrounded by dilapidated structures and hundreds of gravesites — many belonging to Native Americans massacred more than a century earlier.The assessed value of the property: less than $14,000. The seller’s asking price: $4.9 million.Tribal members say the man who owns a piece of the Wounded Knee National Historic Landmark on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is trying to profit from their suffering. It was there, on Dec. 29, 1890, that 300 Native American men, women and children were killed by the 7th Cavalry in the final battle of the American Indian Wars....
Originally published 04/30/2013
South Dakota is finding it difficult to change time-worn names of locations that are seen as offensive by African-Americans and Native Americans, such as "Negro" and "squaw" creeks, canyons and mountain ridges.The state issued a plea this month for public assistance in renaming five geographic features. The five are part of a total of 18 sites that include the word "squaw" or "Negro" in their names and have been designated by the legislature as needing renaming.But some of the replacement names suggested by the South Dakota Board of Geographic Names have been rejected by an obscure federal body called the U.S. Board on Geographic Names....
Originally published 04/01/2013
WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. — Ever since American soldiers massacred men, women and children here more than a century ago in the last major bloodshed of the American Indian wars, this haunted patch of rolling hills and ponderosa pines has embodied the combustible relationship between Indians and the United States government.It was here that a group of Indian activists aired their grievances against the government with a forceful takeover in 1973 that resulted in protests, a bloody standoff with federal agents and deep divisions among the Indian people.And now the massacre site, which passed into non-Indian hands generations ago, is up for sale, once again dragging Wounded Knee to the center of the Indian people’s bitter struggle against perceived injustice — as well as sowing rifts within the tribe over whether it would be proper, should the tribe get the land, to develop it in a way that brings some money to the destitute region....
Originally published 01/29/2013
...Jon Lauck, whose latest book, “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History,” will come out this fall from University of Iowa Press, says it is an exciting time for writers in South Dakota.Since Lauck of Sioux Falls first started writing political history books more than a decade ago, he’s seen area authors make great strides in both getting published and making connections.“Everything seems to be converging,” says Lauck, who also works as an adviser to Sen. John Thune. “It used to be that if you wrote a good book about South Dakota, you had no place to go. There are more opportunities than ever.”...
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