South Dakota Literary Map

Welcome to one view of South Dakota's literary heritage. Our first storytellers and singers of songs recorded their "literature" on hides, on rock walls and in the oral tradition of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people. Later, explorers, homesteaders, scholars and warriors-some visitors and some permanent residents-wrote their fiction, poems, plays, memoirs and opinion. Some wrote for children, some for adults. We invite teachers and their students, general readers and guests in our state to explore this heritage further through this website. Visit it often because we anticipate frequent updating and additions.

Words of Wind and Sky: Voices from South Dakota

"...we beheld a most beautiful landscape." ~William Clark, Journals of Lewis and Clark
"The High Plains...often act as a crucible for those who inhabit them."
~Kathleen Norris, Dakota, a Spiritual Geography
"In the tensions between...the beautiful and the harsh, may lie the source of both art and psychology in South Dakota." ~John Milton, South Dakota: a Bicentennial History

"Everywhere the plains

crawl toward me. I suck

them in, slice off neat

rounds, simmer them all day

in the black pot, steam rising

into the still air of small rooms."

~ Linda Hasselstrom, Windbreak



"Make me a partner of the wind and sun,

And I won't ask a life that's soft or high."

~Badger Clark, "A Cowboy's Prayer"

"She loved the sweep of the unbroken prairie with the wild grasses waving in the winds."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder, The First Four Years
"There was no floor, but the thick, short buffalo grass made a neat carpet." ~Oscar Micheaux, The Conquest

"It is easy to believe

that this vast region

continues to share its destiny

with a people

who have survived hard winters



and transformations

unthought of

and unpredicted."

~Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, The Power of Horses


"Bright, clear sky over a plain so wide that the rim of the heaven cut down on it around the entire horizon...Bright, clear sky, today, tomorrow, and for all time to come." ~Ole E. Rolvaag, Giants in the Earth
"And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father...." ~Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

More about the South Dakota Literary Map

The South Dakota Library Association, in partnership with SDCTE and SDHC, distributed the South Dakota Literary Map to every school, public, university and special library in South Dakota. The full-color 23x35 inch map may be purchased in museums and bookstores throughout the state or from South Dakota Council of Teachers of English, Dodi Bemis, Treasurer, 876 Hidden Valley, Watertown, SD 57201 for $10 plus $2.50 for postage and handling. The front of the map locates 55 authors and one or two titles of significant works near the region they wrote about. The back of the map contains biographical data and a partial annotated listing of titles for more than 150 authors.

The South Dakota Literary Map and this accompanying website were produced for the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English. This project is funded by a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a gift from the Karl E. Mundt Foundation.

Project Directors/Researchers: Donna Fisher, Mitchell. High School & Sharon Olbertson, Beresford High School

Artist: Elk Eagle (Van St. John)

Humanities Scholar/Advisors:

Dr. Herbert Hoover-University of South Dakota

Dr. Arthur Huseboe-Center for Western Studies/Augustana College

Professor James McLaird-Dakota Wesleyan University

Dr. Mary O'Connor-South Dakota State University

Dr. Charles Woodard-South Dakota State University


Center for Western Studies and Augustana College

Dakota Wesleyan University

Beresford High School and Mitchell High School

Dr. Kathryn Antonen, SD School of Mines and Technology

Contributors: First National Bank, Brookings; Dacotah Bank of Aberdeen; Sioux Corporation of Beresford

Criteria for Developing the South Dakota Literary Map

In view of the discussion that the selections will generate, we invite readers to offer their views about particular authors on the SD Literary Map Web Site. Present your own favorite South Dakota authors. Add to the database with more information. Suggest ideas for the study/teaching of the works cited.With your input this website can continue to grow into a rich resource for South Dakota's readers of all ages. For questions and

~The authors on this map have significant ties to South Dakota. They were either born here, educated here, or have somehow formed an attachment to our state that enabled them to reflect something significant about the "South Dakota identity."
~The works cited are currently available to students and teachers. They can be located in bookstores or in libraries-available to the general public-not just in special, scholarly collections.
~Therefore, in an effort to explain or defend the absence of certain works or authors, we suggest---
The author's ties to South Dakota were not sufficiently significant.
The works are not readily available to the average reader.
The works are valuable to someone other than the K-12 student of literature.
~The works cited provide something useful to the K-12 teacher/student of literature. Teachers, however, should be aware that many of these titles were written for adult audiences and will not be appropriate for elementary and middle school students. Space prevents a complete listing of titles by these authors. Readers should also explore the many other books reflecting South Dakota's history, biography, natural science and geography.

Procedure of Map Development

Researchers compiled a working list from available resources. This working list was submitted to scholar-advisers for perusal and comment. Based upon their feedback, data was divided into three categories:
~Names that would appear on both front and back of the map .
~Data that would appear only on the reverse side of the map.
~Data that would appear only on the website.

Authors on the Map
/ Especially for Young Readers / Journalists / Memoirs and Human Interest / Poets and Playwrights / Visitors with Insight / More Authors on the Web Site Only /Bibliographers and Other Links /Explore Your Region / Reader Comments /Lesson Plans / More about the SD Literary Map / Home
The South Dakota Literary Map and this accompanying website were produced for the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English. This project is funded by a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a gift from the Karl E. Mundt Foundation.

Last update August 1, 1998 by Donna Fisher,

Copyright by South Dakota Council of Teachers of English, 1998

SD Literary Map printed by Fenske Companies, Rapid City, SD