Category Archives: Events


Storytelling, Storykeeping: The Importance of Culture-Based Writing
September 16 and 17, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
VBR 101B, SDSU Student Union, Brookings, SD
For More Information: Charles Woodard, SDSU English Dept.
(605) 688-4056 or (605) 692-5512

                                                            20TH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE


VBR 101B, SDSU Student Union  

 Monday, September 16:

9:00     Introductory Remarks, Lowell Amiotte, SDSU Professor Emeritus and Co-Founder,

              Oak Lake Tribal Writers’ Retreat

9:10    “Why Write? A Tribal Perspective, ” Elizabeth Cook-Lynn   

10:00  Panel Response, Kim Blaeser, Joseph Marshall III, Laura Tohe, Roberta Hill

1:00     Welcome, SDSU President David Chicoine

1:10     “Storytelling, Story-keeping: Storytellers Making a Story Together,”   

               Joseph Marshall III, Kim Blaeser, LeAnne Howe   

2:00    “Seeing Red: Hollywood Depictions of American Indians,” 

               LeAnne Howe, Gordon Henry, Laura Tohe

7:30     Reception and Book-signing


Tuesday, September 17:

9:00    “Bridging Disciplines: The Humanities and the Social Sciences in American Indian

                 Studies,” Gordon Henry, Richard Meyers, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

10:00   “Why Poetry? Some Tribal Perspectives,” 

                 Laura Tohe, Roberta Hill, Kim Blaeser, Gordon Henry

1:00       Welcome, Dean Dennis Papini, College of Arts and Sciences

1:05      “We Tell You Now,” Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and the Oak Lake Tribal Writers’  Society


2:00     “Healing the World: American Indian Truths,” Joseph Marshall III and Roberta Hill


About the presenters:

KIM BLAESER is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She is the author of Apprenticed to Justice (poems), Absentee Indians and Other Poems, Trailing You (poems),  and Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, and the editor of Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose and Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Ojibwe Poetry.


ELIZABETH COOK-LYNN is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Professor Emerita of English and Native American Studies at Eastern Washington University.  Her books include New Indians, Old Wars, Anti-Indianism in Modern American: A Voice from Tatekeya’s Earth, Aurelia: A Crow Creek Trilogy (fiction), Why I Can’t read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays, The Power of Horses and Other Stories, and I Remember the Fallen Trees: New and Selected Poems.


GORDON HENRY is a member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe of Minnesota and Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Michigan State University.  He is the author of The Light People (a novel) and co-author of The Ojibway (a textbook), and he is also a widely-published poet.


ROBERTA HILL is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her writings include three books of poetry, Star Quilt, Philadelphia Flowers and just-published Cicadas, New and Selected Poems.


LEANNE HOWE is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Professor of American Indian Studies and English and affiliated faculty in Theatre at the University of Illinois.  Her works include Shell Shaker (a novel), Evidence of Red (poetry and prose), Miko King: An Indian Baseball Story (a novel), and Choctalking On Other Realities (short stories), due out in October, 2013.


JOSEPH MARSHALL III is a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe.  His books include The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage, The Long Knives Are Crying (a novel), The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History, Walking With Grandfather: The Wisdom of Lakota Elders, The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History, The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living, and The Dance House: Stories from Rosebud.


RICHARD MEYERS is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is Tribal Relations Director and Coordinator of the American Indian Studies Program at South Dakota State University.


LAURA TOHE is Dine’ and Professor of English at Arizona State University.  Her works include Code Talker Stories, No Parole Today (poetry and short stories), Making Friends With Water (poems) and Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio.


 Co-Sponsored by:  the SDSU English Department, the SDSU American Indian Studies Program, the SDSU Office of Diversity, the Brookings Reconciliation Council, USDA/NIFA Award # 2010-46100-21784 and South Dakota State University        


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn to speak at 44th Annual Dakota Conference to Discuss Wounded Knee

Oak Lake mentor, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn will speak on Friday, April 27 at 1:15. Her talk is entitled,”Dissent in Indian Country.” See the program for more details.
DATES: Friday, April 27, 2012 – Saturday, April 28, 2012
LOCATION: Center for Western Studies
TICKET INFO: Registration is $55.

EVENT DETAILS:The 44th-Annual Dakota Conference, “Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later,” will be held at the Center for Western Studies on April 27-28. Approximately 80 presenters from as many as 15 states gather to present papers and participate in panels at this two-day national conference.

On display in conjunction with the Conference is the art exhibition “Interpretations of Wounded Knee 1973 and 1890,” a one-time show featuring the work of twenty-two artists.
A public reception will be held on Thursday, April 26, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

On December 29, 1890, Miniconjou Lakota chief Spotted Elk (Big Foot) and 300 of his followers were attacked on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. Eighty-three years later, 200 Oglala Lakota seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee. In observance of the 40th anniversary of the occupation, the 2012 Dakota Conference will address questions related to Wounded Knee 1973, the 1890 massacre, as well as any and all aspects of Northern Plains American Indian history and culture.

For more information and a link to the program see the conference Web site.

Mabel Picotte, 1st prize winner in SD Poetry Society Contest

The South Dakota Poetry Society Contest winners are in (drum roll….) and our own Oak Lake Writer, Mabel Picotte, won first place for her poem, “Lips Like Strawberries.” Mabel’s voice is honest (I would never say brutally) and fearless in a way one might not expect upon first meeting her. The poem below reflects so much of what makes Mabel an accomplished writer and an accomplished human. It is gentle, but strong, generous in its imagery, and thoughtful. Join Mabel and other winners at the historic Goss Opera House in Watertown this Sunday Jan 15th, 12:00-4:00 p.m., for a reading of winning poems.

Mabel Picotte

The scent of Jasmine
hung heavily
the night I got drunk on Beringer
and blew out love
with the smoke a Marlboro makes
“There are at least two sides to everything”
you said
with lips like strawberries
“I would have never known what was in the front
if I didn’t try the back.”
The wooden steps
became solid, cold
as I pondered the thought
shifting restlessly
to find the softness
that once lifted me outside
my body
killing my glass
my fingers lifted to right
a curly strand
instead I found them
poised mid-air
longing to feel the smooth brown
skin of your cheek
out-stretched and shaking
I choked twice on
imaginings of Lot’s flight
that sparked behind my eyes
at the soft pat of my hand
dropping to my knee
your eyes met mine in pure joy
filling my glass while
calling me your “Kick a hole in the sky girl”
I imagined dancing with you
in the moonlight
but how could I compete
with that “other side”
so silently and uncontrollably
I watched
those strawberry colored lips part
those sweet windows into bliss
press against his
-the maleness I could never be
Inhaling deep
I blew out love on
both your manly faces

Edward Valandra to speak at SDSU, Oct. 7

23rd Annual
Consider the Century:
Native American Perspectives on the Past 100 Years
Friday, October 7
SDSU Student Union 101B

One of the Oak Lake Writers, Edward Valandra, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Founder and Research Fellow, Community for the Advancement of Native Studies, will discuss the teaching of American Indian studies. He will also outline some of the main themes and premises of his book Not Without Our Consent (University of Illinois Press, 2006), and explain how American Indian studies research can provide support for the strengthening and perpetuation of tribal sovereignty.

This program is co-Sponsored by the South Dakota Humanities Council, South Dakota State University, SDSU American Indian Studies Program, SDSU Native American Club, SDSU English Department, SDSU Journalism Department, SDSU Office of Diversity, Brookings Area Reconciliation Council.

For more information contact Conference Coordinator Charles Woodard, SDSU English Department, 688-4056, or

The Lakota Way: then and now. Understanding American Indian history and culture

Craig Howe

On Thursday, September 22nd at 4:30 p.m. there will be a special presentation at the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place on Highway 1806 north. The South Dakota Humanities Council is sponsoring a panel discussion to promote this year’s central theme of American Indian cultures. The Lakota Way will be presented from several different perspectives.

The program will feature Oak Lake Writers’ Society member, Dr. Craig Howe, Martin, director of the Center of American Indian Research and Native Studies, who will speak as an historian.

Other speakers include Belinda Joe, Crazy Horse, Culture-Education Specialist for the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, who will present storytelling. Donovin Sprague, Rapid City, author of several books, will give a writer’s view; and, Sandy Swallow, Hill City, will share the artist’s perspective. Ann Campbell, moderator for the panel discussion, will encourage the audience to participate with questions for the panelists.

Refreshments will be served. American State Bank and BankWest have contributed to make this event free and open to the public. Following the panel discussion event, there will be a traditional bison feed for the public, hosted by Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, at the Buffalo Interpretive Center at 6 p.m. The Center is located on the Native American Scenic Byway (Highway 1806 south off Hwy 83) about 6 miles from Fort Pierre. Florentine Blue Thunder of Lower Brule will present a program on Lakota use of and relationship with the buffalo.

This is an opportunity for the community to participate in the South Dakota Humanities Council’s mission of supporting and promoting the exchange of ideas to foster a thoughtful and engaged society.

The goal of the South Dakota Humanities Council is to provide a bedrock of understanding and civility over cultural issues pertaining to our state and its history.

Oak Lake Writers at the South Dakota Festival of Books (Oct 7-9)

If you’re attending the South Dakota Festival of Booksin Deadwood, October 7-9, please come on by the Oak Lake Writers’ two events:

Oak Lake Writers' Society Reading

Friday October 7: 3:00 – 4:30 PM ~ SPECIAL EVENT – Deadwood Pavlion/Chamber of Commerce, He Sapa Woihanble: Black Hills Dream Book Release: Editor Craig Howe will host a conversation about the Oak Lake Writer’s new publication.
Saturday October 8: 9:00 – 9:45 AM – Deadwood Elementary Gymnasium, The Oak Lake Writers will do a reading of poetry and prose.

Stay tuned. We’ll post more information about these two events as soon as our organizers get it to us.