State Historical Society names Governor’s Awards for History

Four individuals or groups are being recognized by the South Dakota State Historical Society for their efforts in preserving state history by receiving Governor�s Awards for History.

The award winners include Lonis Wendt of Vivian, Julie Ortman of Sioux Falls, Kingsley M. Bray of Manchester, England; and South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB), based in Vermillion.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Saturday, May 21, during the annual history conference of the State Historical Society in Pierre.

�These people are all to be commended for their efforts at preserving our state�s history,� said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. �Because of their work, our past will be kept alive for future generations.�

�We are pleased to give out these awards,� added Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society. �These are just a few of the shining examples of how people across the state and beyond are helping us in our efforts to promote, nurture and sustain South Dakota history.�

Wendt is the individual award winner. His efforts have brought South Dakota history alive for thousands of South Dakotans of all ages. Wendt is the historian of the Encounters on the Prairie-Central South Dakota Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. He has spent more than 50 years preserving such segments of state history as the Fort Pierre to Deadwood Trail, the Fort Bennett Trail and the Vivian area.

Ortman was named the 2011 History Teacher of the Year. She teaches at Memorial Middle School in Sioux Falls and uses a wide variety of hands-on methods and technologies to engage her students in learning about history. A previous VFW and Alcester-Hudson Teacher of the Year and a finalist last year for Sioux Falls School District Teacher of the Year, Ortman said she teaches �to make every day an adventure that students can�t wait to take!�

Bray is the winner of the Herbert S. Schell Award for best article in the previous year�s South Dakota History, the State Historical Society�s award-winning quarterly journal. His article, �Before Sitting Bull: Interpreting Hunkpapa Political History, 1750-1867,� appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of the journal.

SDPB is the organizational award winner, and is being recognized mostly for its work in capturing last year�s State Capitol Centennial events through the mediums of TV, radio and online. SDPB TV producer Stephanie Rissler created the award-winning documentary �Our Statehouse: A Capitol Idea,� that looked at the history of Dakota Territory, the fight for the capital city and construction of the Capitol building. SDPB has created several other documentaries about South Dakota history in recent years.

The State Historical Society is headquartered at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. For more information, visit or call (605) 773-3458.

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