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American Folklife Center Collections: South Dakota

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting expressive culture in the state of South Dakota at the Library of Congress.


Lois Sierra, artist. 1994 South Dakota State Winner Lands' End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (AFC 1997/011). Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections from South Dakota document the diversity of its expressive culture. Starting with Frances Densmore's cylinder recordings of Teton and Santee Sioux singers in 1911 and 1914, the South Dakota collections here are particularly strong in documentation of the state's Native peoples. Notable are the 1940s recordings from Pine Ridge, Wanblee, and Crow Creek made by Columbia University music professor, Willard Rhodes, and the 1955 interview with Dewey Beard, last Native survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Other South Dakota documentation includes recordings of miner's, cowboy, and army songs as well as stories and poems about sheep herding made in 1939 for the WPA Recreation Project by Nicholas Ray. Oliver Beltz collected songs and services of the Hutterites in the James River Colony in 1949, and Michael Miller gathered interviews with master artist and apprentice pairs participating in South Dakota's Traditional Arts Program in 1992.

Collections of Interest

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

Public Programming

As part of the Homegrown Concert Series from the American Folklife Center, Dallas Chief Eagle and Jasmine Pickner (from the Rosebud and Crow Creek Sioux tribes of South Dakota) presented "Hoop Dances" on November 15, 2007 in the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium.