Humanities grants awarded, distinguished service awards given to humanities supporters

At their annual fall board meeting Dec. 30, 2009, the South Dakota Humanities Council Board awarded 10 grant proposals totaling $43,250 for funding in 2010. Here is a glimpse of which programs were accepted for funding:

Pierre – The South Dakota Heritage Fund is sponsoring the 2010 South Dakota State Historical Society Annual History Conference held from April 30 – May 1, 2010.  This year's theme is Prairie Politics . . . From Territory to Today.

Brookings – A "Living History Fair" program will take place Jan. 29- 30, at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. Students in grades 4-6 will participate.

Vermillion – South Dakota Public Broadcasting plan to produce a short documentary about The Stavig Letters, a true story about two brothers, one an 1881 immigrant to South Dakota, the other one still in Norway.  This presentation is also available as a Speakers' Bureau program through SDHC.

Madison and Vermillion – Lauren Pelon, a music history scholar, will present The Living Roots of Music in Madison and Vermillion in January.  Her presentation explores the role of music in culture and history while demonstrating several ancient and modern instruments.

Hill City – The Hill City Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a documentary for the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum in Hill City. The documentary will be aired for PBS, and DVDs will be distributed to the public.

Sioux Falls – The Washington Pavilion will conduct Performance Insights after their performances in January, April, and June 2010.

Brookings – A master's thesis, Rockport Colony Hutterites: A Case Study by Joanita Kant will be published. The sponsoring organization is the East Central Literacy Council in Brookings. 

Mobridge – The Klein Museum in Mobridge received funding for More Than a Visit: Taking a Museum Home With You where a guide and enhanced website will be available for patrons.

Pine Ridge – A Teachers' Institute on Approaches to Teaching Lakota Culture will be held between April and August 2010 with Dr. Craig Howe at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies.

Rapid City – The Lakota/Dakota Storytelling Competition took place at the Lakota Nation Invitational from Dec. 16-19, 2009 in which middle and high school students told traditional, contemporary, and issue-based stories.

SDHC will feature an immigration theme for 2010. Funds have been set aside to support programs that give the immigrant journey experience new voice. For more information please visit The next grant deadline is January 30, 2010.

In other awards given, four humanities supporters received the 2009 award for "Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities." The award is given to an individual who advances the humanities in South Dakota through scholarship, program coordination, or financial support. The winners were Sheryl Baloun of Sioux Falls, Jack Stengel of Sioux Falls, Rebecca Schenk of Pierre, and Fee Jacobsen of Pierre.

Dedicated service is a prerequisite for the honor, but all four recipients were humbled by the opportunity to serve. One winner suggests that she got back more than she gave. "I feel I should be giving the Humanities an award because of how it has enriched my life," said Rebecca Schenk, an award winner and current board member.

This spirit of giving is not a new addition to the SDHC. This award has been given out over the years to a select few who radically improved the humanities in South Dakota. Past recipients include Margaret Cash Wegner, Jerome Kills Small, Sidney Goss, R.D. Theisz, Tom Gasque, Ruth Alexander, Art Husboe, Loren M. Carlson, Wayne S. Knutson, Charles Woodard, Richard Kline, Sr. Eileen Neville, Jean D. Walz, Jack W. Marken, and Ben Reifel. These, along with the 2009 award recipients, have been recognized for their unique spirit of service and lasting contributions to the humanities.

About the South Dakota
Humanities Council

The South Dakota Humanities Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1972 whose sole mission is to deliver humanities programming to the people of South Dakota. As a steward of the state's heritage, the Council promotes the appreciation of South Dakota history, literature, and other related humanities subjects through grant-making and cultural programs, such as the Festival of Books, the One Book South Dakota program, and others. The council's core mission is to support and promote the exchange of ideas to foster a thoughtful and engaged society. More about the South Dakota Humanities Council is online at

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