December's episode of Dakota Life revisits South Dakota history.
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Gladys Pyle
Gladys Pyle

Learn more about South Dakota's history with Dakota Life.

SD Oral History Center-Vermillion

SDPB’s Bob Bosse visits the South Dakota Oral History Center on the University of South Dakota’s Vermillion campus. The center is home to over 6,000 oral recordings of historically significant audio interviews related to South Dakota. Tune in and hear the voices of South Dakotans like:

Huronian Gladys Pyle, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate;

John F. Smith, a Dakota Wesleyan graduate and high school teacher who survived Pearl Harbor;

Ellis Jenny, daughter of SD homesteaders;

Father Joe Vogel, who was stationed in the state’s missile fields during the 1970s Cold War;

Richard (Dick) Wilson, Oglala Sioux Tribal Chairman during the 1973 American Indian Movement (AIM) occupation of Wounded Knee.

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Civilian Conservation Corps In South Dakota

In the spring of 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed and Congress approved a bill that led to the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Roosevelt promised that the Corps would put a quarter of a million men to work almost immediately. By July of 1933, Civilian Conservation Corps camps were built or being built all over the country. Young, unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25 got to work in America’s fields and forests, as road and dam builders and building and repairing infrastructure in national and state parks.

Age requirements changed during the nine years that the CCC was active. Men as young as 17 and as old as 28 were accepted. About three million men worked for the CCC between 1933 and 1942, when Congress shifted funding from the CCC to the military.

About 30,000 men worked for the CCC in South Dakota. South Dakota contained 50 camps in locations around the state, as well as an unknown number of side camps. The highest concentration of CCC bases was in the Black Hills, from Hot Springs in the south to Belle Fourche and Fruitdale in the north.

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Return of Lewis & Clark’s White Pirogue II

Visit Yankton for a historic re-enactment of the return of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s white pirogue in 1806. A replica Mackinaw flat-bottomed river boat, the White Pirogue II carried a crew of re-enactors along the Missouri River to provide history and entertainment.

The latest episode of Dakota Life premieres Thursday, December 6, at 8pm (7 MT) and rebroadcasts Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1pm (noon MT).