Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

South Dakotans are invited to share their families' homesteading stories and photos at an April 7 event in Wall.
South Dakotans are invited to share their families' homesteading stories and photos at an April 7 event in Wall.
U.S. Forest Service photo
March 29, 2016

USFS Seeks Homestead Stories, Photos

South Dakotans are invited to share stories and photos from their families' homesteading histories with the U.S. Forest Service and the Center of Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

A public event set for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, at the National Grasslands Visitor Center in Wall where people can share their stories and photos in an oral history project focused on land in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Appointments are available for those unable to attend the event. 

The entire press release is provided below: 

Special Event for Grasslands Oral History Project

Wall, SD -- Do you have stories about homesteading you would like to share? At 4:30 p.m., Thursday April 7, the National Grasslands Visitor Center and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (UNL) will host a special event to celebrate the commencement of the Grasslands Oral History Project (GOHP) field season. Free hamburgers and bratwursts will be served at the NGVC beginning at 4:30 p.m. to those members of the community who would like to be a part of this special project.

The primary goal of the GOHP is to document homesteading history that occurred in this region before the creation of Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Dr. Matthew Douglass of the Center of Great Plains Studies at UNL and the NGVC Park Rangers will be conducting the interviews for the project.  

“We encourage individuals who can share information about homesteading in the local area, the relationship homesteaders had with the land, what they used the land for, and the conditions that have to do with the formation of the National Grasslands,” Dr. Matthew Douglass said. “Of particular interest are those who have documents and photographs about local homesteading history, or whose family has passed down information about life during the homestead era.”

Cheyenne McGriff, Wall Economic Development Director, had the chance participate in the oral history project when she worked as a Forest Service Park Ranger last summer.

“Participating in the oral history project encouraged me to learn more about my family’s homesteading history, something I had never researched before.” McGriff said. “Now, I feel an even deeper connection to my hometown and can share that story with friends, family, and visitors.”

The public is encouraged to visit the National Grasslands Visitor Center during the special event and interviews can be conducted at this time. If interested persons are unable to attend the event, Dr. Douglass will be happy to set up a separate time and location to meet. At home interviews can be conducted as well.

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact the National Grasslands Visitor Center in Wall at 605-279-2125 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily or Dr. Matthew Douglass at 402-270-7220 or [email protected]

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