Voting: Why It Matters

The new award-winning short documentary "Without a Whisper/Konnon:Kwe," made by Mohawk Territory producer-director Katsitsionni Fox, tells a long-unheralded story about how the people of the matrilineal Iroquois Confederacy have been influencing public policy over time. The movie features Mohawk Clan Mother Louise Herne (right) and Women's Studies pioneer Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner. The two discussed the film and related issues during SDHC's kickoff event for Voting: Why It Matters.

South Dakota Programming Includes Louise Erdrich, Gloria Steinem

Through "Why It Matters," 43 Humanities Councils Across the Country and U.S. Territories Explore the History, Importance, and Impact of the American Electoral Process

The South Dakota Humanities Council held five public forums in 2021 for “Voting: Why It Matters,” a new national initiative funded by a $50,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to educate South Dakotans on the importance of civic participation.

The Mellon Foundation awarded $1.96 million to the Federation of State Humanities Councils to support "Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation," exploring civic participation as it relates to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy.

South Dakota is one of 43 U.S. states and territories selected to participate in the initiative.

Authors, Scholars Featured in SDHC’s 2021 Programming for “Voting: Why It Matters.”

SDHC featured renowned women’s studies scholar Sally Roesch Wagner in its kickoff event Dec. 15, the first in a series of programs that included Gloria Steinem, Thomas E. Patterson and Robert V. Burns and Louise Erdrich. See recordings of those programs below. 

Programs in South Dakota and elsewhere in the United States explored the history of civic and electoral engagement, highlight and elevate varied perspectives, and bring people together to talk, share, learn, and listen using the humanities to promote understanding through historical context and conversation.

“We are thankful to the Mellon Foundation for providing this grant to fulfill a vital need for our modern-day democracy, and to the Federation of State Humanities Councils for offering us the opportunity to bring it to South Dakotans,” said SDHC executive director Ann Volin. “It is important for citizens to understand how vital their vote is and why voting matters.”

Event Coverage: Blog Posts and Other News

Watch the Replay

Dec. 15, 2020: Telling The Untold Story of the Proud Influence of Indigenous Women on Women's Rights

March 9, 2021: Political Scientists Patterson, Burns Examine Voter Trends

Feb. 18, 2021: Women' Rights Advocates Steinem, Wagner Explore Suffrage

March 25, 2021: SDPB Host Lori Walsh Interviews Louise Erdrich

April 6, 2021: Experts Examine Native American Voter Access

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About the Federation of State Humanities Councils

Founded in 1977, the Federation of State Humanities Councils is the national member association of the U.S. state and jurisdictional humanities councils. Our purpose is to provide leadership, advocacy, and information to help members advance programs that engage millions of citizens across diverse populations in community and civic life.

This program was funded by the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Event Calendar

7:00 pm | West River Research and Extension
9:00 am | Lake Area Technical College Student Center
9:00 am | Lake Area Technical College Student Center
2:30 pm | Beresford High School