SDOHC's Mission

The SDOHC is devoted to documenting the history of the Northern Plains region and the care of previously collected interviews.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Advice from the Cash Library

As we all know, finding the right words when it comes to matters of the heart can be extremely difficult. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might be under more pressure than usual to affirm your affections in an overstated manner. Luckily for you, we here at the South Dakota Oral History Center are here to assist you with your needs.

One of the many collections we house here is the The Joseph Harper Cash Memorial Library. According to the University of South Dakota’s website, the Cash Library “holds collections of donated books, catalogues, directories, maps, and several resources useful to the study of Native American heritage and the history of South Dakota.”

Within this small library, I was able to locate several anthologies of American Indian poetry and prose. These anthologies provide English translations of a wide variety of songs, chants, stories, and poetry from tribes all across North and South America.

Naturally, no book of poetry is complete without several poems dedicated to the trials and tribulations of love. I have compiled a collection of several poems dealing with different situations to assist those of you who may be struggling to come up with something unique on Valentine’s Day.

Have you recently met your special someone?

“Love Song”

I am thinking
I am thinking
I have found my lover
I think it is so

Perhaps you have fierce competition for the heart of your beloved and need to persuade her why you are the right choice.

(taken from) “Formula to Attract Affections”

Ha! I belong to the Wolf clan,
That one alone which was allotted for you.
No one is ever lonely with me. I am handsome.
Let her put her soul
Into the very center of my soul, never to turn away.
Grant that in the midst of men
She shall never think of them.
I belong to the one clan alone which was allotted for you
When the seven clans were established. […]

That’s a pretty difficult offer to turn down, don’t you think? This guy sounds pretty great! He’s good-looking, knows how to show a girl a good time, and he wants to be the only guy I’ll ever want to love. 
Sounds like this is a formula for romantic success!

Maybe you’re frustrated because the object of your affection is playing hard to get.

#2 from “Two Love Songs”

My sweetheart, we surely could have gone home,
But you were afraid!
When it was night we surely could have gone home,
But you were afraid!

Alas, you are not dating because an ex is still on your mind!

“Love Song”

No matter how hard I try,
to forget you,
you always
come back to my mind,
and when you hear me singing
you may know
I am weeping for you.

Perhaps you and your love are separated by time or space.

“Love Song”

I know not whether thou hast been absent:
I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee,
In my dreams thou art with me.
If my eardrops tremble in my ears,
I know it is thou moving within my heart.

Your family may not approve of your relationship.

Part I of “The Parted Lovers”

(The man sings)
My parents think they can separate me from the girl I love;
We have vowed to love another while we live.
Their commands are vain: we shall see each other while the world lasts.
Yes! Let them say and do as they like; we shall see each other while the rocks stand.
(The woman sings)
Here I sit on this point, whence I can see the man that I love.
Our people think they can sever us; but I shall see him while the world lasts.
Here I shall remain, in sight of the one I love.

How about a good old-fashioned poem comparing your love to the sun and the moon?

“The Heart’s Friend”
(Shoshone Love Song)

Fair is the white star of twilight,
And the sky clearer
At the day’s end;
But she is fairer, and she is dearer
She, my heart’s friend!
Fair is the white star of twilight,
And the moon roving
To the sky’s end;
But she is fairer, better worth loving,
She, my heart’s friend.

Last but not least, something for those of you who might have recently been dumped by a really dumb guy.

I from “Songs of the Woman”

I don't care
                if you desert me.
Many pretty boys are in the town.
Soon I shall take another one.
That is not hard for me!

We here at the SDOHC hope this post has been helpful to you, no matter what your romantic situation! If you would like to check out the anthologies these poems came from, come to the Cash Library in Dakota Hall 12 and check out these anthologies: American Indian Prose and Poetry: ‘The Winged Serpant.’ An Anthology edited by Margot Astrov. American Indian Poetry: An Anthology of Songs & Chants. Edited by George W Cronyn.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

[This blog post brought to you by Betsey Horton]

If you have any questions, requests, or donations for the SDOHC please email!
Thank you for your continued interest!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

National Day of Listening from StoryCorps

Every year as those of us in the USA swear we will never eat another bit again, having devoured as much food as we could the day before, StoryCorps, made famous for most of us by National Public Radio,  celebrates the National Day of Listening. The National Day of Listening is "a day to honor a loved one through listening." So as we recover from Thanksgiving festivities and prepare ourselves for the parade of winter holidays lets listen as StoryCorps says, "It's the least expensive but most meaningful gift you can give this holiday season. You can choose to record a story with anyone you know." This year StoryCorps National Day of Listening featured stories of veterans, active duty military, and their families, to listen visit 

If you would like more information about donating a story to the South Dakota Oral History Center or if you need help recording a story, please email us at or call 605.677.6386. 

Thank you for your continued interest in the South Dakota Oral History Center and happy holidays!

- J. McIntyre, SDOHC Digitizer/Curator

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Orator: A SDOHC Publication

Read the October issue of the ORATOR!

This month's Orator comes to us from Jessica Neal, the SDOHC Cataloger! It details Poker Alice's trip to the Governor's office to receive a pardon for running a house of ill-repute.

A publication from the South Dakota Oral History Center, The Orator comes out once a month with a bulk SDOHC/ORATOR publication being circulated bi-annually.

Articles and information
The Orator is a fairly new publication and is distributed, mainly, throughout the University of South Dakota’s Campus.  However, we are continuing to grow our reader base through the use of technology and community contacts.

We are always accepting new writers for the Orator and the SDOHC Blog. Contact for more information about how you can become a writer for the SDOHC!

Become a SDOHC Member!

By becoming a member of the SDOHC you will be supporting the continued collection and preservation of Northern Plains Voices. You will also, as a member, receive, by email, the SDOHC Orator once per month and any updates about the Center’s activities, then, twice per year, the SDOHC will mail you the bulk Orator publication which will include information about the wide world of oral history and the Oral History Center, and feature articles by contributors to oral history scholarship.

SDOHC Student Membership                                     $25.00

SDOHC Membership                                                    $50.00
As a SDOHC member you will not pay processing fees for requests, receive, by email, the Orator every month and SDOHC updates, as well as, the bi-annual bulk Orator mailing with information about wider oral history scholarship, the SDOHC, and articles from Orator contributors!

SDOHC Institutional Membership                           $200.00
Along with normal member benefits, Institutional Members will receive free admission to classes focused on the archival preservation of audio and video recordings, as well as, free access to the SDOHC’s collections for the use in one exhibit!

SDOHC Sponsor                                                         $1,000.00
Along with normal member benefits, a SDOHC Sponsor is given the opportunity to have a professional Sponsored Oral History Interview conducted and preserved by the SDOHC!

SDOHC Memberships are for One Calendar Year. Fees are deposited into the SDOHC’s Lindley Fund an endowment to the SDOHC. Please mail the SDOHC with your Membership request and check at: SD Oral History Center * 414 E. Clark St. * Vermillion, SD 57069. Make checks payable to the SD Oral History Center. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Russell Means: A Man Remembered

DD: At the Wounded Knee celebration, I put down you said, "Wounded Knee was a catalyst for the rebirth of self-dignity and pride." What happened at Wounded Knee to do that?

RM: Well, a small group of Indian people, about two dozen AIM members, approximately three hundred Ogallalas [...] said that Indian people are alive and well, and they're still resisting colonialism and suppression and repression. And that we are proud of who we are... That statement lit a fire around the world. It became an international event, and Indian people everywhere were inspired, everywhere, even in Central and South America, they heard about it. [...]

[The above is an excerpt from the South Dakota Oral History Center: AIRP2184, of Russell Means being interviewed by Don Doll, June 27, 1993.] 

On Monday at his home in Porcupine, South Dakota, Russell Means died from pneumonia brought on by a resurgence of the cancer he was diagnosed with in 2011. As the above excerpt states Russell Means was a man whose actions and statements lit fires around the nation and brought attention to Indian peoples. While there are those who agree and disagree with his methods, it cannot be denied that his actions affected a change and impacted how history writes about Native Americans.

Listen to Russell Means below, discussing why he, and AIM, occupied Wounded Knee in 1973, his answer is part of an interview before a speech given by Russell Means in 1993.

[South Dakota Oral History Center: AIRP2185]

- Jennifer E. McIntyre, SDOHC Digitizer/Curator

Thank you for your continued interest in the South Dakota Oral History Center!

If you have any information about the subject of this blog please contact us at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Senator George McGovern: A Man Remembered

Born in Avon, SD, Senator McGovern was raised in Mitchel, SD, and always remained close to his South Dakota community. In his presidential run in 1972 he proved himself an important voice to the anti-war movement during Vietnam, his words echoing through the decades as they were then used to describe the fighting in Iraq in the 2000s. Though he turned 90 this past July, McGovern remained a staunch advocate for peace and ending hunger in the United States and all over the world. In her remarks about the Senator's passing Susan Milligan of U.S. News said, "McGovern was a decent, gentle soul. He was a humble man who never bragged about the dozens of combat missions he flew in World War II. He didn't want to talk about his heroism in war; he was more interested in talking about the fight against hunger. He got into politics because he wanted to help people and to spread peace. And he accomplished that as much when he was out of office as when he was serving in the U.S. Senate." 

While many words will continue to be written about Senator George McGovern, his passing, at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday and the impact he left, the South Dakota Oral History Center wishes to leave you with his voice. The following interview clips, from SDOHP3179, were recorded by Donald C Simmons, Jr, on November 9th 2004, in Mitchell, SD, at Dakota Wesleyan University, following the 2004 McGovern Conference. This interview details different experiences from Senator McGovern's life such at the importance of the Missouri and James Rivers, being a student pilot at Dakota Wesleyan University, contemporary politics from 2004, his values and politics, the media, Vietnam, Native Politics from 2004, his first awareness of Native Americans, Harrington Family, and the Lake/Moody County Democratic Party.

 "[...] To Change your mind is to say, I'm wiser today than I was yesterday [...]."
George McGovern 
(SDOHP3179 00:06:09)

- Jennifer E. McIntyre, Digitizer/Curator

Thank you for your continued interest in the South Dakota Oral History Center.

If you have any questions about the information contained in this blog, please contact

Please contact us at or 605-677-6386 for additional information about our collections and how you can become more involved!


Eaton, Kristi. Associated Press. 10/2012.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pardoning Poker Alice

"I would rather play poker with five or six experts than to eat."
- Poker Alice Ivers, gambler []

Poker Alice Ivers is one of the more colorful characters in South Dakota’s history.  Originally hailing from England, she was married as a young woman in the mining camps of Colorado.  She learned to play poker by watching her husband, Frank Duffield, and caught on quite quickly.  After his death, she made a living by playing and dealing poker.  She had a fondness for fashionable clothing, and the lovely lady attracted quite a few men to the halls that she dealt in—either to test their gambling skills against her, or to gaze upon the novelty of a modest but beautiful woman working in a saloon.

After moving to the Black Hills area, she married Warren G. Tubbs, and card games were few and far between as she helped him ranch and raise their 7 children.  It was surely hard work, but she remembered those years fondly.  When her second husband died, however, she returned to gambling for her living.

In her later years she owned her own saloon between Sturgis and Fort Meade.  “Poker’s Palace,” as it was called, provided a place for gambling, drinking (during Prohibition, no less) and prostitution.  These were the years that Katherine Soldat talked about when Gene Van Alstyne interviewed her for the South Dakota Oral History Center.  Katherine Soldat was the first woman mayor in South Dakota (for the town of Sturgis), and was a close friend to Poker Alice up until her death.  She spoke very warmly of her, assuring her interviewer that Alice was a good, kindhearted woman who often fed her and anyone in need, took good care of “her girls,” and never gambled on a Sunday.  Kindhearted or not, she often landed herself in trouble with the law, and the recording that follows is Soldat’s account of Poker Alice’s pardoning by the Governor of South Dakota when she had been convicted of “running a house of ill-repute.”

  Gene Van Alstyne interviewing Kathrine Soldat, 1975 [SDOHP1247]

- Jessica Neal, SDOHC Cataloger/Curator

Thank you for listening!

Contact us at with any questions or to hear the rest of Ms. Soldat's amazing story

South Dakota Oral History Center [SDOHP 1247].