Center for Western Studies' Dakota Conference
For the Forty-third Annual Dakota Conference, the Center for Western Studies will participate in the national observance of the Civil War, one of the most momentous events in American history — and one that had profound implications for our region. A principal goal of The Civil War & the Northern Plains is to explore how this largely eastern conflict impacted the northern Great Plains.
When war broke out between the states in April 1861, Minnesota was celebrating its third year of statehood, Sioux Falls was a bustling commercial center, and the northern Great Plains had already been surveyed for a transcontinental railroad. By the fall of the following year, in no small measure because of distractions caused by the war in the East, the Dakota Sioux, provoked in part out of exasperation over non-existent meat allotments, killed hundreds of settlers in Minnesota.
Following the mass hanging in Mankato, the relocation of thousands of innocent Dakota Sioux, the punitive military campaigns of 1862-1863, the establishment of numerous garrisons across the region, and the migration after 1865 of thousands of veterans encouraged by the Homestead Act of 1862, the Plains faced a future that could not have been imagined just a few years before. Although only a few battles were ever fought west of the Mississippi River, the Civil War changed the Great Plains.
Dedicated to examining contemporary issues in their historical and cultural contexts, the Dakota Conference is a signature event of the Center for Western Studies, which provides programming in Northern Plains studies at Augustana College. In awarding a Challenge Grant, the National Endowment for the Humanities cited the Dakota Conference specifically for its hallmark blending of academic and non-academic presenters. If you, also, value this approach to learning about the past, there is still time to help the Center for Western Studies meet its NEH endowment match. Please contact us. Thank you to each presenter and session chair, whose dedication to research and writing makes this conference possible.
The Twenty-fourth Annual Northern Plains Autograph Party will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. in the CWS Fantle Building. Registration for the Dakota Conference is not required if attending only the autograph party.
Continuing Education Credit is available through Augustana College. Contact Dr. Harry F. Thompson.
Registration Fee: $45 if received by April 18 ($50 thereafter). Registration is free for full-time undergraduate students of any college or university. The program and registration form are available on the Center’s website.
Outreach and Communication Director