Archaeology, History, Young Writers on the Reservation and More

South Dakota Humanities Council awards second half of 2016 grants

Nine humanities projects in South Dakota will receive a total of $32,450 in grants for research, long-term projects and programs focused on humanities in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Humanities Council board selected proposals that cover a range of humanities topics, including archaeology, history, biodiversity, conservation and climate change, Native American culture, and literary recognition for young readers, Lakota writers and classic literature.

The following proposals were selected for advancing the mission of the council and promoting humanities in American public life:

  • South Dakota History Adventures: National Geographic BioBlitz, $1,000 - South Dakota Discovery Center, Pierre
  • Ounwapi Literary Journal, $1,200 - Oglala Lakota College, Kyle
  • Northern Plains Jurors Forum, $2,000 - Sinte Gleska University, Mission
  • Hey Rez Kids: We Need to Hear Your Story, $3,500 - Dakota Club Library, Eagle Butte
  • Storybook Land Festival, $3,750 - Aberdeen Area Arts Council, Aberdeen
  • Community Shakespeare As You Like It, $4,000 - Vermillion Downtown Cultural Association, Vermillion
  • 2016 Archaeology Awareness Days, $5,000 - Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village Preservation Society, Mitchell
  • Naomi Klein: Harding Distinguished Lecturer, $5,000 - South Dakota State University, Brookings
  • Catalog & DVD Documentation of The Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin, $7,000 - Red Cloud Indian School, Inc., Pine Ridge

The board selected proposals from the second round of the 2016 grant cycle, which were due February 29. The next round of proposals requesting more than $1,000 will be awarded in fall 2016. Applications are due October 15. Proposals requesting less than $1,000 are accepted, reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis.

For grant guidelines and information on community programs in the humanities, visit the SDHC website at or call (605) 688-6113. Grant information is listed under Engage.

2016 round two grantees (for grants requesting $1,001 and more)


SD History Adventures: National Geographic BioBlitz, $1,000 - South Dakota Discovery Center, Pierre
South Dakota History Adventures (SDHA) engages 4th-6th graders in explorations of history and natural history in central South Dakota. In 2016, SDDC will team with National Geographic to incorporate a BioBlitz in which all 550 participants from South Dakota schools, along with scholars, will investigate biodiversity along the Missouri River, demonstrating the important role exploration and conservation have had in our history -from the 1700s to the present day. Through a museum tour, river bank exploration, Lakota star planetarium program, and a guided boat trip, each participant will leave with a fuller understanding of human interconnectedness with the environment and how this relationship has affected our state.


Ounwapi Literary Journal, $1,200 - Oglala Lakota College, Kyle
Ounwapi Literary Journal will be the first print journal for Oglala Lakota College. Ounwapi is Lakota for "we write." The journal will feature writing and art from Lakota community members, in addition to writing from Frank X. Walker (former Poet Laureate of Kentucky). This grant enables printing of 250 copies of the literary journal composed of approximately 150 pages featuring creative writing, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from local Lakota writers and writers from across the United States.

The journal will be distributed among contributors, OLC libraries and college centers, throughout various other tribal college libraries and to some local high schools (including those on the reservation). Also, students, faculty, and community members will be able to read from their published work at events created by the Humanities and Social Sciences department, which will help further ideas of the Lakota and global perspective.


Northern Plains Jurors Forum, $2,000 - Sinte Gleska University, Mission
This project will sponsor presentation programs by four individuals with documented expertise and knowledge of contemporary and traditional Native art forms, representing 35 identified Northern Plains Tribes. The audience will include students, residents, and visitors in Brookings, Vermillion and Sioux Falls on the evening of Thursday, Sept.15. The central theme of the presentations and discussion will be individual juror criticism, trends, and application of today’s art forms as they contribute to and build on the diverse Northern Plains Tribe history, diversity, and traditions.

 Hey Rez Kids: We Need to Hear Your Story, $3,500 - Dakota Club Library, Eagle Butte

“Hey Rez Kids” will provide children from the reservation with interests in writing and illustration an opportunity to discuss their dreams and goals with those who have succeeded in those fields. Nine children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be selected to attend the Festival of Books in September 2016. The children will meet Native authors with the objective of encouraging them to pursue a career in writing and illustration. The Festival will be an incentive as part of the summer youth writers and illustrators workshop offered by the library. The youth who participate in this program will be asked to write a story, essay or poem or illustrate a graphic story about how they perceive reservation culture.

Storybook Land Festival, $3,750 - Aberdeen Area Arts Council, Aberdeen
Storybook Land Festival at Storybook Land, Aberdeen July 22-23, started as a single day event and has grown into a two-day festival for children of all ages. The event promotes children's literature and the importance of reading. The festival also features musical entertainment, hands-on arts and crafts, costume characters and a movie showing with a literary connection. Authors throughout the day give presentations on their stories, books, the inspiration behind their books and creative process. The festival is free and open to all guests.

Community Shakespeare As You Like It, $4,000 - Vermillion Downtown Cultural Association, Vermillion
"Community Shakespeare As You Like It" brings Shakespeare alive for southeastern South Dakotans through public presentations of four popular Shakespeare films featuring discussions, a Children's Shakespeare Workshop, and a Shakespeare Scholars Forum in partnership with the University of South Dakota. All programs will be free to the public. Events will be held the four Saturdays in advance of the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, June 9-12 and are intended to cultivate a multi-generational broad audience and a deeper understanding of the Bard's work.


2016 Archaeology Awareness Days, $5,000 - Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village Preservation Society, Mitchell
Archaeology Awareness Days is the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village Preservation Society’s largest event each year. The event brings archaeologists, anthropologists and primitive technologists from around the world to the MPIV for two days in July of each year. Visitors watch as primitive technologists demonstrate ancient skills such as flint knapping, hide tanning and pottery making. Hands-on activities include learning how to throw spears using an ancient tool called an atlatl or how to use a long bow in archery demonstrations.

Visitors learn about archaeology and the work or archaeologists and anthropologists and that while the science is not all "Indiana Jones" it can be just as exciting as in the movies.

Naomi Klein: Harding Distinguished Lecturer, $5,000South Dakota State University, Brookings
SDSU’s Harding Lecture committee will host author Naomi Klein for the Harding Distinguished Lecture on a climate change-related topic. While climate change is not a new topic in South Dakota, it has been insufficiently discussed outside the scientific community. Klein has an exceptional track record for informing and engaging broad cross sections of the public, nationally and internationally, to address this need. She will deliver the evening lecture and provide an informal, invitation-only talk during the day. A week before the lecture, the university will host a screening and discussion of "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate," a documentary based on Klein's book.

Catalog & DVD Documentation of The Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin, $7,000 - Red Cloud Indian School, Inc., Pine Ridge

The catalog and DVD documentation of the Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin community-influenced exhibit seeks to enhance South Dakota citizen's appreciation and use of the humanities, specifically the Lakota language, history, art theory and community discussions that employ humanistic methods that reflect our diverse heritage, traditions and history as well as current conditions of life. The exhibit will engage the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Peoples to explore shared values and the human experience through the lens of the Horse Nation, or Sunka Wakan Oyate.