SDOHC's Mission

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

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].