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North and South Dakota 125th Celebration

Monday June 16th

"Sense of Place"

    1:00 - 5:00 PM - Dakota Buttes Museum open in Hettinger

    3:30 PM - Presentation and Book Signing by Kathleen Norris (Lemmon, SD - Senior Center)


         Entertainment by Hettinger Cowboy Band during meal

         Flag Presentation by the Scouts

         Recognition of Veterans in attendance

         ND and SD Dignitaries

         Concert featuring Jessie Veeder Scolfield and Chuck Suchy with poetry reading by Kathleen Norris

         Birthday Cake

Jessie Veeder Scofield

Chuck Suchy

ND and SD Pink Granite Monoliths

Kathleen Norris

The Dakotas: A Rich History of Change - Part 1 

Article by: Bonnie Smith


[Editor's note: this is the sixth in a series of articles leading up to the June 16, 2014, joint celebration of the 125th birthday of North and South Dakota's entry into the Union in 1889.]


Around 13,000 BC, several thousand years prior to Northern European settlement of what is now North and South Dakota, indigenous peoples lived and thrived on the "lush vegetation" of what came to be called the Northern Great Plains, or to some, the High Plains. Serious drought drove these people away. Two thousand years or so ago, other native peoples moved into the eastern third of the area. About 1300 AD, the Mandan who were skilled farmers, brought their agricultural talents up the Missouri, raising a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables that fed them year round. Three or four hundred years later, the Hidatsa and Arikara joined them. 

Others, such as the Teton Lakota Sioux, who made their summer camps in this area, were hunters and gatherers, following tatanka (the buffalo) and making careful use of all parts of this majestic animal, while the Yanktonai Sioux lived in the southeastern quarter of the "state," and the Ojibwa in the northeast. It is from the Sioux language that we get the word Dakota, which means "friend or ally."

Settling along the rivers or hunting on the extensive grasslands, these people were highly organized, self-sufficient, and efficient in their use of the land and its resources. In the 1700s, fur traders such as French explorer La Verendrye and others, moved into what is now North Dakota from the northeast. La Verendrye, who visited the Mandan tribes in 1738, was one of many who helped open limited trade between these people and European countries, particularly fur trade in the Red River valley. By 1789, most of the middle and western parts of the United States was French territory, but after the US purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803, all but the far northeast corner of the land that is now North Dakota became US territory. The Missouri River valley area through which President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark and their men in 1804-1806 now became part of US consciousness through documentation of that expedition, as people on the East Coast learned more of the flora and fauna and of the people and animals who lived here. Scottish settlers from Canada moved up the Red River to Pembina in 1812, where an extensive fur and buffalo hide trade grew, but the present states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming remained sparsely populated until the area was organized in 1861 into the Dakota Territory, aided by the 1872 arrival of the railroad in Fargo and by the 1873 arrival of the railroad at the Missouri River. Canadian settlers and others poured in.

Later in the mid-1880s, after drought and depressed farm prices, those people were replaced by immigrants from Norway, Germany and other parts of Europe drawn to the area by the promise of 160 acres of free land through the Homestead Act, if they stayed for five years, proving up that land. Statehood for both Dakotas followed in 1889. By 1910, North Dakota had the highest number of foreign-born residents of any state in the Union.


To be continued . . . 


You, your family and your neighborhood can be part of the upcoming joint celebration of the 125th birthday of North and South Dakota's entry into the Union in 1889. Join us at the Lemmon, SD, Senior Center on Monday, June 16, 2014, at 3:30 pm for a book reading and signing by nationally known writer Kathleen Norris. Then in Hettinger at the Dakota Buttes Museum from 1:00 - 5:00 pm to view the special 125th North Dakota/South Dakota displays, the North Dakota: 250 Years of Mapping display on loan from the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the other new displays, in addition to the regular collection.  


Other Hettinger events begin with the free meal and birthday cake at 5:30 pm MDT in Mirror Lake Park, with the Hettinger Cowboy Band at 6:00 and the local program at 6:30 pm featuring a Scout flag entry, a recognition of Veterans, singers, and others, and the state program to include Jessie Veeder Scofield, Kathleen Norris, Chuck Suchy, dignitaries and more. For a detailed schedule of events and activities of this, the only joint sanctioned 125th birthday event for both North and South Dakota, go to the Hettinger and Lemmon Chamber web site, to the TV access channels, or to local radio stations, flyers, and posters of the upcoming celebration. The June 16 event is co-sponsored by the ND & SD Humanities Councils, the ND & SD State 125th Official Committees and the local committees. 

Sense of Place: School Art/Writing Exhibit Celebrates North & South Dakota's 125th

Article by: Bonnie Smith


[Editor's note: this is the 5th in a series of articles leading up to the joint North and South Dakota 125th birthday celebration in Lemmon, SD, and in Hettinger, ND, on Monday, June 16, 2014.]


They bloom. They charge.  They crawl. They fly.  They explain. They promote and they initiate reaction. What are they? They are the over two hundred pieces of school art and writing on special exhibit at the Dakota Buttes Historical Society/Museum (DBHS/M) in southeast Hettinger from June 16 through September 15 of this year as part of North and South Dakota's entrance into the Union 125 years ago in 1889. Early this spring with administration approval, local students and teachers began planning how best to create art pieces or writing pieces that would illustrate North and South Dakota's sense of place in its past, its present and its future. The results? Prairie roses bloom across the wall. Prairie elevators soar through the Dakota sky. Vistas of wide open horizons, for which North and South Dakota are famous, invite calm, while collages and watercolors of American bison (buffalo) remind us of the days when huge herds roamed freely across this section of the Northern Great Plains. To remember the past, present and future of the two states, some student art focuses on present day agriculture methods, on careful use of the fragile ecosystem, and on good stewardship. Still others reflect the many hobbies and interests of present people of the plains. And among it all, caterpillars and butterflies, both prominent on these plains, weave and flutter. Not only is the joint 125th birthday celebration on June 16 a once-in-a-lifetime event, the students' art work is a once-in-a-lifetime event for them and for the viewer, as their pieces take people back to early days in the Dakotas,  to present events, and to the need to preserve and protect our future. The Sense of Place school art exhibit, the special sanctioned displays from the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the new displays  and the regular collection will be open to the public from 1:00 - 5:00 pm on June 16. In the middle of the afternoon that day, nationally known author Kathleen Norris, formerly from Lemmon, SD, and author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, will be present for a book reading and signing at the Senior Center in Lemmon. At 5:30 pm MDT on Monday,  June 16,  the evening's events at the Mirror Lake Park in Hettinger  begin with the free meal, free birthday cake and Hettinger Cowboy Band music. The local patriotic program with the Scout flag entry, Vet recognition, youth singers, and more, is scheduled for 6:30 pm. State and nationally known dignitaries, musicians and performers, such as singer/songwriter Jessie Veeder Scofield, author Kathleen Norris and North Dakota's folk singer/guitarist Chuck Suchy will then entertain the crowd. Lt. Governors from both states plan to attend. Two days before, on Saturday,  June 14, the Adams County Library (ACL) in Hettinger along with the DBHS/M hosts a book discussion of Norris's book at the Dakota Buttes Museum in southeast Hettinger beginning at 2:00 pm.  Humanities scholar Margaret Barnhart from Dickinson State University will lead the discussion. Those attending that discussion may pick up a complimentary copy of Norris's book at the ACL. Contact the library or the museum for further information. The June 16 celebrations in Lemmon, SD, and in Hettinger, ND, the only sanctioned joint events for the 125th anniversaries of both states, are co-sponsored by the ND and SD Humanities Councils, the ND and SD State 125th Official Committees and the local committees. The Dakota Buttes Visitors Council is the local sponsor of the Hettinger events. For further information,  check community bulletin boards, TV access channels and radio ads, call the Hettinger Chamber office (701-567-2513) or go to the 125th birthday event links on Hettinger Chamber web site. It will be a set of events to remember, shared with friends and family under the Dakota skies.

SAVE THE DATE  June 16 . . . We have Something to Celebrate 

Article by Bonnie Smith

[Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles leading up to the joint ND/SD 125th birthday celebration on June 16 in Lemmon and Hettinger]

Who says this part of the Northern Great Plains isn't a great place to live and work and raise a family? In the most recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, North Dakota ranked first in the nation, coming in at 70.4 and surpassing long-time front runner Hawaii. South Dakota was a close second at 70.0. The Well- Being Index, sometimes referred to as the "Happiness Index," is a set of national and state data that measures life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities. One reason for North Dakota's success on the list has been the explosion in job growth. As measured by the Gallup Job Creation Index, the state was #1 in employee perceptions of job creation at their workplace, and is now listed as having the sixth-highest per-capita personal  income in America, according to a new Payroll-to-Population State Ranking. For the fifth year in a row, North Dakota also holds the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, below 3%. If those top rankings weren't enough reason to celebrate, a couple of years ago, the state's economy grew at five times the national average and nearly three times faster than the #2 state, Texas. In 2013, North Dakota was the fastest growing state in the nation, with a present population of more than 723,393 people. We have the most churches per capita of any state in the nation and one of the largest church-going populations in America. Our taxes are relatively low, and we are considered one of the friendliest states for small business, and - some say - have the friendliest people. We continue to have a high percentage of high school graduates and are "hanging onto our graduates as never before." We are at the top, or near the top, in the production of hard red spring wheat, durum wheat, sunflowers, barley, oats, lentils, canola, flaxseed and honey, and are known throughout the land for our beef, pork and lamb production. Our work ethic continues to be well known. Even though we sometimes have violent extremes in weather and temperature, we also have clean air, clear water and relative safety (a low crime rate compared to other states, but higher than we're used to).  The beauty of our natural landscapes and stretches of scenic highways are "Legendary" (as someone once said, "There's nothing like North Dakota in June")  and we continue to rate high in hunting, fishing, and outdoor sports of all seasons.

We also rank first in some areas we'd rather not. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, we currently rank first in the nation in the rise of  homelessness, at 200%. We have a high rate of occupational fatalities, we have the highest price for small apartments in the nation, and we've seen a rise in the rate of children in poverty from 11.9 % to 15.8 %. Still, there's always more good than bad. So, SAVE THE DATE:  Monday, June 16, 2014, because WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE - the 125th joint birthdays of North Dakota and South Dakota, who entered the Union together, in 1889. Begin your celebration with friends and family in Lemmon, SD, at 3:30 pm MDT with author Kathleen Norris and local and joint-state dignitaries, personnel and participants. Then come on over to Hettinger, ND, visit the special 125th birthday exhibits at the Dakota Buttes Museum in southeast Hettinger, enjoy the free meal and birthday cake at Mirror Lake Park from 5:30-6:30 pm MDT, followed by the local patriotic program of scouts, young musicians, a tribute to all veterans, and state performers and personnel. "It's an outdoor family event for all," says Brenna Daugherty Gerhardt, Executive Director of the North Dakota Humanities Council, "and the only joint event between the states of North and South Dakota scheduled in the 2014 125th birthday year."



North Dakota/South Dakota Separated by Unique, Pink Sentinels

Article by: Bonnie Smith

[Editor's note: this is the second in a series of articles leading up to the joint 125th state birthday celebration between 

North Dakota and South Dakota on June 16, 2014, in Lemmon, SD, and Hettinger, ND]

Many of them still stand. Sentinels of pink granite along the 360 miles of the border between North and South Dakota. In the summer of 1891, surveyor Charles H. Bates and his crew battled bugs, bad weather, illness, and more, to complete the surveying and marking of this vast section of the Northern Great Plains. A US Government-funded project, placement of the granite markers, which were originally 7 ft. high and weighed 800 lbs each, took two years. In wind and rain, in heat and storm, Bates's surveying crew planted them every half mile along thenew border. It was, and has remained, the only border of its kind in the United States. It's possible to yet see some of the famous monoliths along this border. One granite marker is also at the Dakota Buttes Museum in southeast Hettinger and may be viewed during the upcoming joint 125th birthday celebration of the two states (see photo) on June 16, 2014. Birthday festivities begin in Lemmon, SD, in the afternoon, and continue in Hettinger with a free meal and special program at Mirror Lake Park. Check the Lemmon and Hettinger Chamber web sites for updated information on this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, the only joint 125th birthday celebration between the two states. For further information on the vintage monoliths, their history and placement, contact the local library for Gordon Iseminger's book, The Quartzite Border: Surveying and Marking the North Dakota-South Dakota Boundary, 1891-92. As part of his research for the book, Iseminger, a native South Dakotan and professor of history at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, walked the 360 mile border, studying the land and interviewing pioneer descendants. The markers, writes Iseminger, "speak of a restless westering urge and the establishment  of twin states where there was once a single territory." Alike, yet unique, the states of North Dakota and South Dakota, like the pink granite markers, continue to beckon people to the windswept, wide open spaces that give people a rich sense of place. Placed in 1891-1892, few of the pink granite monoliths marking the border between North and South Dakota remain in their original positions, having fallen prey to theft and vandalism. Those in place are half their original height, having sunk into prairie earth. The engraved lettering, ND and SD, can still be read.    


Hettinger and Lemmon Chosen for June 16, 2014,  Joint event Celebrating ND/SD 125th BD's

Article by: Bonnie Smith

[Editor's note: this is the first in a series of articles leading up to the joint 125th state birthday celebration between 

North Dakota and South Dakota on June 16, 2014, in Lemmon, SD, and Hettinger, ND]

Hettinger's Community Promotions Office recently received word that Hettinger, ND, and Lemmon, SD, were chosen as the only two towns in either state to be part of a joint 125th birthday celebration for both states. After being organized into Dakota Territory in 1861, the area that became North Dakota and South Dakota was later scheduled for entry into the Union on November 2, 1889.  On November 2 of this year, both states celebrate their 125th year of statehood. In recognition of this milestone, a state-wide steering committee is spearheading a series of celebratory events throughout the state, such as a two-month historical display at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, ND, an August event on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck, the November 2 grand opening of the new Heritage Center, and regional events around the state in June. The joint Hettinger, ND/Lemmon, SD, event is one of those special gatherings, celebrating the joint entries into the Union. "It's an honor for both communities," says Jim Goplin, Executive Director of the Adams County Development Corporation and chair of the Dakota Buttes Visitors Council. "We'll do our best to help throw a memorable 125th birthday party." Organized around the theme, "Sense of Place," the June 16 afternoon and evening events will feature state and local dignitaries, singers, songwriters, performers and participants. The joint states event will begin in Lemmon, SD, the afternoon of June 16, 2014, continuing at  Hettinger, ND, with special exhibits at the Dakota Buttes Museum, a free evening meal at Mirror Lake Park, and a celebratory program followed by free birthday cake and lemonade. "We have the opportunity to celebrate what was, what is, and what is yet to come," says Earleen Friez, Community Promotions office manager and executive secretary of the Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce. "It'll take all of us to make it happen." Local groups and individuals interested in helping with this once-in-a-lifetime event are invited to call the Hettinger Community Promotions office for further information (701-567-2531). 


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