Rotating Historical Exhibits at CWS

During a three-day occupation of Augustana's Bergsaker Hall in August of 1970, Native American protestors christened the building Iyu Wepi Lodge. 

The Center has several display cases throughout the galleries that exhibit materials on a variety of changing themes. The current exhibits are:

Pipes of the Great Plains

Working against the peace pipe stereotype, this exhibit by CWS intern Austin Glant explores the true meaning of the pipe and its varied uses by the numerous bands of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. Visitors will learn the traditional Lakota story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, who first brought the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe to the people, as well as the symbolism behind pipe smoking, how they are made, and the purposes for which they are used. Several examples of pipe bowls and stems from the Blue Cloud Abbey – American Indian Culture Research Center Collection are included in the display. 

What a Wonderful World, on the Lingering Frontier

In 1966, William R. Wyatt, a history professor at Augustana College, conducted an oral history project to study the frontier attitude in South Dakota. Called “Changing Social Patterns on the Lingering Frontier,” the study was a pilot project for what would eventually become Augustana’s Center for Western Studies. To study this “frontier attitude,” Wyatt conducted 97 interviews with residents representing one eastern county (Minnehaha) and one western county (Lyman) in South Dakota. Intern Cassie Blair discovered that members of three generations of her own family were included in the project, and she presents here a selection of their thoughts on social life and habits.

The 1970 Occupation of Bergsaker Hall

Conferences are a regular occurrence on the Augustana University campus, but one held in the summer of 1970 had quite a surprise ending. At the conclusion of the weekend event exploring the Lutheran Church’s relationship with Native American peoples, several dozen Native American attendees locked themselves in Bergsaker Hall, the dormitory where they had been staying. For three days, they demanded action on several challenges, but negotiations brought the occupation to a peaceful conclusion. This exhibit by CWS intern Margaret Dow explores the events, historical context, key players, and motives behind Augustana’s personal experience of the Red Power movement. 

"Christians get AIDS—Augie students aren't exceptions": Augustana's Response to the AIDS Crisis

HIV and AIDS first caught the public’s attention in 1981. By the end of that year, 270 gay men had been diagnosed with a mysterious illness, and 121 of them had died. The disease continued to spread rapidly throughout the next 15 years, becoming the leading cause of death for Americans aged 25-44 in 1993. Though still considered a global pandemic, much is known today about how HIV is transmitted. Research has led to education programs that have reduced the rate of transmission and treatments that slow the progression of the infection. This was not the case in the 1980s and 1990s, when fear, misinformation, and a lack of education caused great public concern, including on college campuses. Using archived issues of the student newspaper, this exhibit by CWS intern Mason Breitling examines Augustana’s early response to the AIDS crisis.