Winning essay: Lewis and Clark in South Dakota By Shaka Taylor Lewis and Clark were sent by President Jefferson to explore the lands to the Pacific Ocean. They were known as the Corps of Discovery and as they entered South Dakota, the tribes told them that there were 18-inch devils living on Spirit Mound. This is my favorite part of their adventure.
They came to the area of Spirit Mound on August 25, 1804. After walking for hours in sweltering heat to reach the Mound, they did not find any little devils, but instead discovered a huge herd of buffalo on the prairie. What an awesome sight! They learned that the buffalo were very important to the Indians as they used them for teepees, food and clothing.
I liked this part of the journey because it must have been full of excitement and bravery.
Spirit Mound stands by Highway 19, six miles north of Vermillion. The Spirit Mound Historic Prairie is managed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.
Lewis and Clark described and sketched animals they found in South Dakota. They saw some prairie dogs and called them "barking squirrels", pronghorns were called "goats." They also wrote about prairie wolves, coyotes and buffalo.
Editor's note: Shaka Taylor, a fourth grade student at Canistota Elementary School, is the winning essayist in the South Dakota Office of Tourism's 2005 Lewis and Clark Essay Contest. He is the son of Kim and Jordan Taylor of Canistota.