SDHC Board Awards $48K in Grants

Nine Applicants Receive Money for Programs

The South Dakota Humanities Council has awarded $48,379 to organizations around the state that will conduct humanities programs for South Dakotans.

The board of directors of the statewide non-profit, whose sole mission is to deliver humanities programs to South Dakotans, approved the grant applications of nine organizations at its latest board meeting.

Successful applicants submit projects led by humanities professionals and feature humanities as a central focus of their program, event, or research project. The following organizations received awards:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society in De Smet received $7,000 for Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant 2021. This year's production, an outdoor event, is based on Wilder's books and life on the prairie. The script for the 50th Anniversary production features pageant board member and SDHC Scholar Marian Cramer's script of "Prairie Patchwork" and "Medley of Memories." Public discussion events featuring historian Marian Cramer will take place at 3 pm on July 10, 16, 17 and 24. Audience members can expect to learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder and experience personally what the author describes in the books. Visit for more.

  • Booth Society, Inc. in Spearfish received $7,000 for "Celebrating 125 years at the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery." Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives throughout the summer, the Booth Society will host multiple events highlighting history, art and literature. Scholars will provide focused information followed by community discussions. Books, articles, artwork and illustrations have been prepared for the celebration. The Fish Hatchery will showcase its fish raceways, a museum of fish culture, a railcar, the D.C. Booth House, and nature trails. This project emphasizes the important role the hatchery continues to play in the community and Black Hills tourism.

  • South Dakota Shakespeare Festival in Vermillion received $7,000 for its 2021 production, the comedy "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" at Prentis Park in Vermillion June 17-20. In 2021, the theater company resumes its live performance schedule alongside a wide array of discussions and education/outreach programming. Admission is freewill donation. Socially responsible mitigation protocols will be implemented throughout every stage of rehearsal, production, and performance processes to ensure the safety of all involved, and programming will be offered live and via digital platforms. The South Dakota Shakespeare Festival engages audiences in the literature of William Shakespeare through live professional theatre performances and other educational opportunities.
Horse-drawn vehicle expert Doug Hansen of Letcher will be featured in a film about old-time vehicles like the one shown above as part of an SDHC-funded documentary,

Horse-drawn vehicle expert Doug Hansen of Letcher will be featured in a film about old-time vehicles like the one shown above as part of an SDHC-funded documentary, "Wagon Master."

  • Bluebird Cultural Initiative in Omaha, NE received $6,930 to support the creation of "We Are Still Here," a documentary film that follows traditional Lakota elders and fluent speakers as they work with younger generations to restore language and culture while processing and healing from intergenerational trauma. Native American scholars, authors and activists will be interviewed to provide historical context for the loss of language and culture. "We Are Still Here" will also spark respectful and thought-provoking questions and multicultural conversations at screenings in South Dakota starting in September at Black Hills State University and Oglala Lakota College (COVID-19 safety precautions included). A Zoom screening and interactive discussion will be held if needed.

  • Oregon-California Trails Association in Independence, MO received $7,000 for the production of "Wagon Master," a documentary film featuring horse-drawn vehicle expert Doug Hansen of Letcher. Hansen is a practitioner of the 19th century art and technology of making, restoring and maintaining the horse-drawn vehicles that played pivotal roles in the 1800s. The half-hour television documentary will include footage from Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop in Letcher, presenting Hansen's work and his research into 19th century modes of transportation. The film will depict the historical restoration, re-creation, maintenance and repair of stagecoaches and wagons. A public event will take place this fall.

  • Friends of the Brookings Public Library in Brookings received $1,859 for "Native American Speaker Series." In observance and celebration of Native American Heritage Month in November, the Brookings Public Library will feature five presenters covering topics such as American Indians in South Dakota, environment and spirituality, hoop dancing, Haudenosaunee women in lacrosse, and violence against Native American women. The discussions will be offered in-person in the Library's Cooper Rooms and simultaneously streamed on Zoom. Presentations will conclude with a question-and-answer session with the audience. Related books and media will be displayed by the library. Watch for schedule information.
SDHC scholar and musician Pegie Douglas will perform at the 2021 Badgerstock event in Sioux Falls, sponsored by an SDHC grant.

SDHC scholar and musician Pegie Douglas will perform at the 2021 Badgerstock event in Sioux Falls, sponsored by an SDHC grant.

  • Black Hills Community Theatre in Rapid City received $4,000 for "Play Reading and Discussion Series," featuring readings and discussions of plays by local actors. Continuing themes from last season, the 2021/22 series will feature readings of plays of literary merit and ensuing discussions on free will, LGBTQ issues and identity, the perception of women in the workplace, and human resiliency in the face of trauma. The Play Reading & Discussion series consists of live readings of plays, followed by a discussion with a local humanities scholar. The events are open to the community on a "pay what you will" basis. The 2021/22 season features five events running from October of 2021 to May of 2022. The discussions are a moderated open conversation between the scholar and the audience, using academic concepts to illuminate moments in the play and vice versa.

  • Badger Clark Foundation in Sioux Falls received $3,300 for Badgerstock VI, a summer event featuring music and poetry performances in Sioux Falls Aug. 28-29 at McKennan Park. The Badger Clark Foundation created the event in 2016 to showcase the talent of poets and musicians in South Dakota. The event has increased in popularity since its inception. South Dakota's first poet laureate, Badger Clark continues to inspire poets and musicians in South Dakota. The Foundation promotes music, poetry and any other creative endeavors for artists and aspiring artists. Performers for the 2021 event include SDHC scholars Bruce Roseland and Pegie Douglas, as well as music/storytelling act Rock Garden Tour.

  • Wagner Area Horizons, Inc. and East River Horizons, Inc. received $4,290 for "605 Unity J.A.M. (Jamboree of Arts and Music) A Multicultural Celebration" to be held in the Wagner area. The June 13 event at Wagner Lake/Chapman Park provides an outdoor venue for families to gather and experience the arts, music and more in a multicultural setting with COVID-19 safety in mind. The program will serve people in a 45-mile radius around the rural reservation community of Wagner. It will foster, through natural, multicultural relationships, a community narrative supporting diversity, the arts and healthy lifestyles.

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