Summer reading lists are a popular item at this time of the year, and the next issue of South Dakota History is something that should be a “must read” for anyone interested in the state’s past. The Summer 2012 issue of the journal published by the SDSHS Press has a mix of topics for a broad range of interests.
Teresa M. Houser’s well-documented article, “A Pivotal Decision: The Yankton Sioux and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934,” provides a look at the consequences of the legislation for Yankton efforts to transition to self-government. The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was the centerpiece of the “Indian New Deal,” a collection of federal programs designed to improve economic conditions on reservations throughout the country. On the Yankton reservation, however, debate over the IRA and its provisions deepened existing differences among political factions, ultimately leaving the Yanktons ineligible for many Indian New Deal benefits.
Politics also forms the core of John E. Miller’s “Historical Musings” essay. In his “Defining Moments in Twentieth-century South Dakota Political History,” Miller identifies eleven key turning points at which the actions of state politicians created “large and continuing impacts” for the future. Miller goes on to pose a number of fascinating “What if?” scenarios, speculating as to how the state’s history might have taken another course, given other circumstances.
No summer is complete without a road trip, and William F. Ihne takes readers along on his 1996 trek across the country to Hayes, South Dakota, to find the homestead where his grandfather lived as a teenager in 1908 and 1909. In the process, Ihne connects with the Great Plains landscape and the descendants of other homesteaders, gaining insight into one of the formative experiences of his grandfather’s life. Poignant and filled with colorful characters, “Journey to the Homestead: A Grandson’s Quest to Uncover the Past” is a perfect summer read.