Friday, October 28, 2011

SGU students attend SD Festival of Books 2011

This is a special Deadwood Diary written by Alan Seeger, freshman Arts & Sciences student at Sinte Gleska University. On October 8, 2011, the SGU Arts & Sciences Department English Instructor, Mary Henson, and SGU Student Support Services Department English Instructor, Sammie Bordeaux, co-chaperoned a trip for students to the South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, SD. This year's featured One Book South Dakota author, Joseph Marshall, III, was scheduled to deliver the keynote to end the festival that evening, and students have been reading The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall this semester. Despite some rainy weather, students and staff enjoyed their visit to the literary world of South Dakota. Following is a diary of the day by Alan Seeger.

Above: SGU students Amanda Small Bear, Kyle Bordeaux, 
Chantelle One Star and Allen Stead at the SD 
Festival of Books 2011 in Deadwood, SD.

South Dakota Book Festival DiaryAlan Seeger
October 8, 2011

9:30am CST - Got up at 7am. Fiddled around on the computer for a few minutes. Got dressed, then waited for everyone else to get ready. Packed my tablet, spiral notebook, the book I am currently reading (“The World We Used To Live In” by Vine Deloria Jr.), and my medications.

By then, most everyone was nearly ready. I went out and loaded my wheelchair into our van, and only dimly noted that the spare tire was sitting on the back seat from having had a flat a couple of weeks ago. My capable wife and her sister put it back in its storage under the rear of the van.

Then we all loaded up -- my wife, her sister, our three daughters (our son declined the trip, preferring to stay home and play video games) and me -- and headed for Sinte, where we were supposed to meet at 10am.

It was 10:01am. I made the comment that it was a red letter day, proof that we could almost be on time for something.

10:30am CST - Of the 33 people that signed up for the trip, only 10 showed up. Chalk it up to Pell grants having come out yesterday. *sigh*

12 noon MST - We’re zooming down I-90 at 80 mph. It’s cloudy, but no rain yet. 52°F. We’re passing semis like they’re standing still. We just passed mile marker 90. The Paha Sapa loom on the horizon, grey in the misty conditions.

12:30pm MST - Stopped for gas in Rapid City. It’s 40 miles to Deadwood, we’ve got half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Well, not really. I just like to quote that line.   

1:15pm MST: We’re going down winding State Highway 14 from the Interstate toward Deadwood. The evergreens stand proud and strong, and the deciduous trees are ablaze with color.  

1:30pm MST - We arrive at the Deadwood Mountain Grand casino, one of the main locations of the Book Festival.

It’s my first time in Deadwood, and I am amused by the names of many of the hotels and casinos, many of which are right out of an old west movie: Wild Bill’s, the Mineral Palace, Hickok’s, the Silverado, the Gold Dust, the Four Aces...

We decide to have lunch at the Deadwood Mountain Grand. I have an enormous burger dubbed “The Pounder,” two patties, bacon, cheese, a mountain of steak fries, and cole slaw... it probably satisfied my protein requirements for an entire week.

I sat watching the rain, now coming down steadily, which spattered on the concrete deck and dripped from the patio umbrellas, tables and chairs.

A quick video presentation came to my mind:

Alan: Hi! We’re here at the 2011 South Dakota Book Festival in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Sammie: Alan has never been to Deadwood before, and felt some concern that he wouldn’t fit in.

Alan: So last night, we watched an episode of “Deadwood” on HBO, so we could learn to talk like authentic Deadwoodians.

Sammie: Deadwoodians?

Alan: Yup. So from this point on, we’re gonna speak Deadwoodese.

Hi, again! We’re here at the BEEPing 2011 South Dakota BEEPing Festival of the BEEPing Book, here in BEEPing Deadwood, South BEEPing Dakota.

Sammie: Uh... I thought you were just going to do the accent...?

Alan: We’re gonna get to hear a bunch of BEEPing presentations by BEEPing authors such as Richard BEEPing Curtis, Sandra BEEPing Dallas, and, of course, that BEEPsucker, Joe Marshall the BEEPing Third.

Sammie: I really don’t think this is gonna work.    
At any rate, after lunch, we went to where the book sale was being held, and I talked to several of the authors who were at their book tables. My wife, as expected, ended up buying five or six books.

After that we intended to go to another venue to hear a presentation by another author, but parking was absolutely impossible to find (ed. note: Most of the venues for the presentation were not handicapped accessible, a requirement that is put aside when it's a historical landmark, as most of Deadwood seems to be designated. We could not attend the workshops with our wheelchair-bound friend, which is a shame because it all looked interesting and fun). We drove around the block so many times that I made the comment that I was starting to feel like a comet.

We ended up driving out to the Four Aces Casino to get a Starbucks, then parked in the main parking garage downtown and went up and down main street looking at the various shops... in the rain.

At 6pm it was back to the Deadwood Mountain Grand, where dinner was being served for all the festivalgoers -- buffalo stew, various fruits, soda bread rolls, berry compote and mini cheesecakes. It was quite good.      
Following dinner, the main event began. First, the South Dakota Humanities Council presented their Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities awards to the following recipients:

  • South Dakota Magazine, represented by its publisher, Bernie Hunhoff
  • Craig Howe of the American Indian Cultures Task Force
  • Linda Hasselstrom, author of 13 books on life in South Dakota
  • The City of Deadwood, represented by Mayor Francis Toscana
  • The Deadwood Historic Preservation Society, represented by commission chairperson Ronda Feterl.   

Finally, Leroy "J.R." LaPlante, who was recently named by Gov. Dennis Daugaard as the state’s Secretary of Tribal Relations, which is a new position in the governor's cabinet, got up to introduce the evening’s main speaker, Joseph Marshall III. His introduction seemed almost as long as Marshall’s entire speech, and my wife and I joked with each other afterward that LaPlante used the expression “without further ado” three separate times during his introduction... when you say “without further ado,” you’re supposed to be done!

At any rate, Joe Marshall was excellent. He talked about having been raised by his maternal grandmother to be the kind of man that a Lakota is supposed to be. He spoke of his love of the traditional Lakota ways, and the fact that he makes bows and arrows in the traditional manner.

He went on to talk about the initial efforts to get his book, “The Lakota Way,” published, explaining that his agent at the time had set up meetings for him with four different literary agents on the same afternoon in New York City; he flew in, delivered the elaborate presentation that he had put together to pitch the book, which at that time was to be titled “Let The Wind Blow Through You,” to the four agents at four different locations, then back on a plane to head home.

As it turned out, a bidding war began between two of the publishers, and before he even got home, his wife was on the phone to him with the good news that he had a publishing contract.

He said that he had been mulling over the idea of a book on Crazy Horse for some time; he is one of Marshall’s heroes, and one of the ultimate examples of what a Lakota man should be. Knowing this, his wife told Joe’s agent, “Tell the publisher that Joe wants to do a book on Crazy Horse too.” That was the extent of the pitch for what eventually became “The Journey Of Crazy Horse” -- and the publisher bought that book as well, even though there was nothing to it yet but Marshall’s thoughts.

Marshall began his talk by saying, “They have this listed as a “lecture,” but I don’t want to call it a lecture -- that would imply that I know something, and the only thing I really know is that I don’t know anything.”

In a brief Q&A session at the end, someone asked Marshall what qualities of Crazy Horse he would like to see in our leaders today, and he responded, “humility.” I think that Joe Marshall himself is an example of that quality as well. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him speak and hope I have another such opportunity in the future.     

Monday, August 22, 2011

More of the world's tallest tipi building

Those keeping an eye on this blog may have noticed that I've been adding photos of the progress of the new Lakota Studies building every week as construction continues. Today a 22-ton crane was delivered to the Antelope Lake campus for the construction of the top of the tipi, and onlookers watched in amazement from throughout the campus as the tops of the tipi poles were put in place to crown the giant tipi. Poles from the tipi could even be seen from the Main Campus two miles away.

photos taken on August 22, 2011
photos by Mary RedOwl-Begay

There is discussion of having the new SGU Lakota Studies building measured and recorded in the 
Guinness Book of World Records for the World's Largest Functioning Tipi Building when it's complete. A larger tipi is already in place in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, with a sculpture topping 20 stories high. However, since it is not an actual building, SGU's building may qualify as the world's largest tipi-shaped building.

A large metal eagle feather sculpture will be added to the top tipi poles when the construction of this section of the building is completed. The eagle feather sculpture was designed and built by Ted Bordeaux of White River, who also plays steel guitar for many SGU functions such as Graduation, Founders' Week and the Annual Elder's Holiday Dinner. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sinte Gleska University's 39th Annual Commencement next weekend

Sinte Gleska University invites the families, friends and public to the 39th Annual Graduation Ceremony on Friday, August 26th, 2011, at Wakinyan Wanbli Multipurpose Student Center in Mission, SD. Ninety-three students will receive diplomas and certificates and have an eagle feather tied on at this year's ceremony. The theme of this year's graduation is Oyate, nahan, tiwahe, nahan wayawaki lena wounspe iyoglog iglubli hecapi nahan tokatakiya wicozani gluha iyuskinyan manipelo (Enhancing Individual, Family and Nation through Education and Culture.)

Graduation Day will begin with a Sunrise Ceremony at 8:00 AM on the grounds of the Wakinyan Wanbli Multipurpose Building, followed by the Purification of the MP Building. At 10:00 AM the dedication of the Business/Education Building grounds will occur east of hte MP Building. At 11:00 AM the University will conduct a Wiping of the Tears Ceremony in the MP Building gymnasium. Grand Entry for the Graduation Ceremony is at 1:00 PM.

This year Sinte Gleska University is honored to have Secretary Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education and Larry EchoHawk, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs as Keynote Speakers. Other dignitaries in attendance will be U.S. Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Director of the Bureau of Education, Keith Moore; Acting Director of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities, Bill Mendoza; and retired Publisher and Founder of the Native Sun Times and nationally-syndicated columnist, Tim Giago.

Following the graduation ceremony a meal will be served for all those attending the graduation. Sinte Gleska University students, staff, faculty and graduates would be honored if all will attend this celebration of our graduates. Thank you for your support of Sinte Gleska University!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New SGU Lakota Studies Building under construction

SGU staff and administrators were treated to a welcome sight this week as the construction crew began putting in beams for the walls and roof. The hundred foot high steel tipi will make the Lakota Studies building the tallest on the University's Antelope Lake campus. After an especially rainy spring and summer, many despaired of the building being completed on time as the construction company continually battled flood waters and mud while trying to build the basement.

Adding photos of progress weekly:

Photo taken on July 29, 2011

Photo taken on Aug. 5, 2011

Photo taken on August 15, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

SGU Campus in summer time

Visit the SGU Bookstore this week to see sage bundles hung from the eaves outdoors to dry. The SGU Bookstore sells several locally grown and harvested plants for use in ceremonies, cooking and personal care. 

Seen outside the SGU Library, a bird has made a new home on the knotted metal sculpture (or maybe the nest was simply relocated to a more visible spot?) The Library was recently given a little makeover with fresh paint and new carpeting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

SGUTube adding more videos every day

By Sammie Bordeaux
SGU's Media Guru, Jim Cortez, has added some new videos to the SGU YouTube channel, a two-part video of SGU adjunct instructor Peter Gibbs teaching Todd County Middle School students about life inside a tipi. Both videos are about 8 minutes long and available in high definition format.

Cortez has been creating videos for SGU for the past three years and making them available via YouTube with an SGU YouTube channel  Most SGU events are covered by Cortez and edited and made available quickly to viewers. Videos include the SGU Founders' Day activities, the SGU frybread video, Lakota elder Albert White Hat speaking about Lakota women's roles, and even a teaching-related video featuring SGU Human Services Chair, Sheryl Klein, developed to help students understand Service Learning.

Cortez has been working on the past 38 years' worth of video and film created by the University media staff, trying to digitize it and make it available via YouTube and/or through DVDs. Cortez believes that the video collection of Sinte Gleska University could be used to raise money for the University through sales of rare and never-seen videos that the University owns. The value of these videos, he believes, lies in their research potential for students and faculty of SGU and other academic institutions.

Additionally, the SGU YouTube channel offers potential students the opportunity to see what's available at Sinte Gleska University in terms of technology, classes, and people. Many will find that SGU is a place like no other in its course offerings, expertise on the Lakota way of life, and the availability of the knowledge and wisdom of Lakota elders.

Faculty Development Workshop September 17

SGU's Policy Institute is hosting a faculty development workshop on September 17 at 10 AM at the Student Services Building on the Antelope Lake Campus. Titled "Blogs, wikis, IMs, Facebooks, YouTube, and Second Life: Technology in the Grounded Classroom," this is the second time this workshop has been offered to SGU faculty.

SGU Faculty who are confused about technology or just want a refresher-course can sign up with Marlies White Hat at the SGU Policy Institute or with Mary Henson-Saunders at the SGU Arts & Sciences Building to attend this workshop. You must sign up to attend the workshop to ensure enough workshop materials and food are available for all.