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tv   Voices of the Northern Plains Exhibit  CSPAN  December 21, 2017 11:10pm-11:27pm EST

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ask for a more fun to be with, but he was really serious about, that and he was also someone who did not take sad vice -- take advice very well and so consequently he did and said things that hurt the cause of communism. q and a sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and it is brought to you today by your cable satellite provider. our c-span cities tour takes american history tv on the road to feature the history of cities across america. on the recent visit to sioux falls, zsouth dakota, we stoppe
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by the western plains museum, and there we are told about the immigrants and american indians who have called this region home. >> this is the northern plains referring to the many different ways that life on this part of the country has been recorded. either through letters or diaries or journals or photographs or objects as well, by the many, many different varieties of ethnic cultures that have lived here. what we wanted to accomplish in emphasizing the materials that you see in this exhibit is that more information can be gathered by just using the records that we have on the second floor, our research core, the archives themselves, and then also a research library of 40,000 volumes on the american west. human habitation in the plains
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would date from certainly in this part of the country, from well before the current era. most anthropologists north american indians as far back as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, plains culture. what you will see in this exhibit here is much more recent, perhaps about 1700, but it is still precontact. we date the contact period from about -- in this part of the country anyway, from about the 1740s when there was a french expedition along the missouri river by the varonde brothers and their father, about 1743. so the materials that you see here would date from before that period of time, and one object
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that i would point to in particular would be this buffalo effigy in this red tablet. this is catlonite. it is harvested or quarried in a strong vein of soft stone of this red variety up and down the northern plains right between minnesota and the dakotas. it was used for a number of objects such as this board which has an incised buffalo figure, and then it was also used for the cutting of tobacco and the use of the pipe and prayer before a hunt out on to the plains. in addition to the catlonite plate that we have here of which we'll see a much larger
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representation of so that you can see the buffalo, here also is a pipe bowl that was carved from the same soft, red stone that's quarried along the border between south dakota and minnesota. and then the stem that was also used with the bead work that became emblematic of the plains indians. the winter count would have been a form of the history book for the lakota people in the sense that the tribal elders would have decided among themselves as to what event in the previous year was most important to them, and then on a buffalo hide such as we have here in this reproduction, a glyph or a symbol, a representation of that particular event would be --
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would appear. we know that from this particular winter count, which is called the red horse owners winter count, which is unique in the sense that there are -- there is actually a legend that goes along with the glyphs. we know that this would have been a meteor shower in the year that that represents. we know from the documentation that's been done by anthropologists the year of that particular event. or we would know for example certainly the earlier years dating back to maybe the coming of the european-american starting to come in here, and
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perhaps the measles, and then certainly an outbreak of measles which devastated tribal populations, wiping out entire villages. with contact with european-americans coming up the missouri river, or down from canada, the hunters of the beaver would have been carrying measles and other diseases that would have been no way that plains indians would have had a way to be inoculated against those. the allotment of the land, skipping down here to the dividing of the land which would have been a very foreign concept to plains' indians. they were certainly fierce in
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their protection of their land from other tribal people, but the dividing of the land and then the resettlement on to reservations would have been a very foreign concept to them. you can see, again, the measles and other measles -- other infections coming in. battles and forts. various attacks are represented in this red horse owners' winter count. we've moved now from the area where the early contact between the dakota and lakota people and european-americans to perhaps more of an emphasis upon the european-american experience itself. again, we're tracing voices and looking for documents that tell us in the words of the people themselves or in their own
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objects what that experience was like. one of the interesting questions and material that we have that actually relates to this is how did people get into this part of the country, which would have been at some distance and before trains. they would have come up the missouri river, as lewis and clark did in their own boat, but the steam boat came along in the 1840s for sure. this is a captain's wheel from an early steam boat on the missouri river. we have in our collections a set of letters by a woman whose name is lily hayes. this particular letter from 1874 is one of my favorites. so she writes, "i waited with
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trunks packed for three weeks. at last a boat came in sight and we started on our perilous journey up the river. this missouri river is unlike any river you could dream of. it is very broad and in some places shallow. the channel owing to the sand and winds is continually shifting. it is never two days in the same place." so here is an eyewitness account of her first view of the missouri river that she is now going to go up to the cheyenne reservation and become a missionary teacher. oleg wilava were early writers of the plains, basing their work on historical research and lived experience themselves. they in a way became pioneers for the writers that came after them. in particular, a writer like herbert krause that we have
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here, krause grew up of a german extraction, grew up in western minnesota near federal government us falls on a farm. he and his family were almost penurious farmers. he wanted to move away and wanted the academic life, certainly the life of a writer. he went to the iowa writer's school, and then he received a call from the president of august ana college to come and establish a writing school here at the school in sioux falls, south dakota. he ended up establishing the center for western studies, and we have a connection with the writers from this particular area of the country, and krause became a writer, and we have a
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writer to this day, patrick hicks. krause was known for the descriptive nature of his writing. his three novels from 1939 to 1956 or so are the "wind without rain," "the thresher" which we have just reprinted, copies came last week, a 1946 novel, and then "the ox cart trail." "the ox cart trail" kind of ended his novelistic career and from there he turned to essays. one of the authors that looked
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up to krause was fredrick manfred. this representation we have here of fredrick manfred's briefcase and his typewriter, a page from one of his manuscripts, and the very desk that he wrote at are located here. these are photographs of fred manfred. here is fred manfred who stood 6'9" tall, and here he is in his buckskin boots. i'll mention that word buckskin in a particular way. behind us here right in front of the desk are those actual buckskins. but he's most famous for the novel "lord grizzly" which is the story of hugh glass, who was a mountain man, a historical character in the 1820s. he traveled up the missouri river with a military expedition, and there he had the
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unfortunate experience of an encounter with a grizzly bear. the grizzly bears were famously or notoriously present in the plains. in his novel, "lord grizzly" which was published in 1954, manfred describes for us some of hugh glasses' experience. he ate and drank and slept all through the day. he ain't and drank and slept all through the night. he slept on the sand bar, one arm laid protectively over the half-eaten red bull calf. when the wolves and coyotes and vultures threatened, he fought them off, roaring and gesturing wildly. sometimes hunger woke him, sometimes snarling wolves woke him. a full belly always put him to sleep. in talking to students, when we talk about what is it that is distinctive about the northern
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great plains where we live, i often like to point out the fact that it is the immediacy of history. i think for these writers as well. in the case of fredrick manfred, he farmed for a number of years along with his father, but it would have been his grandfather who would have been the first generation that would have moved into this part of the country. in the case of krause, the same would have applied. his grandfather would have been from germany and moved here, one of the early immigrants to this part of the country. so we're talking a generation or two generations before. so i think in order to understand themselves and to have a perspective on what their role might have been in this vast area called the plains, they only needed to go back to one or two generations.
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so, again, what is unique about this part of the country -- and i would say it is that immediacy. it is the fact that unlike some of the other areas of the country that go back 200, 300, 400 years, certainly the contact period for the dakotas is much more recent. >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "lectures in history" american university professor aaron bell talks about privacy laws. and federal surveillance of civil rights leader. >> here is the intel officer. william sullivan, shortly after the march on washington in martin luther king's famous speech, we must mark king now if
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not before as the most dangerous negro in the history of this nation from the standpoint of the negro and a national security. >> sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern, former members of congress and vietnam war veterans reflect on lessons learned and ignored during the war. >> we learned the limits of military power during the vietnam war. we learned that as a society, as a culture, that you can't kill an idea with a bullet. american history tv this weekend, only on c-span3. american history tv is in prime time all week every week for the rest of the year. we will h look at american history, including the thhistor of the american cowboy. we take you for the history of the american cowboy. and the historical museum talks


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