Prairie Public

Public media organization

Prairie Public Broadcasting is a trusted public service dedicated to building an exciting and productive future for the prairie and its people. Prairie Public Broadcasting offers a window on the world through national and regional television and radio programming; creates a forum for the most important issues facing our region with locally produced, topical programming; partners with others to foster education for all ages; and utilizes digital technology and Web services to expand those valued services. Beginning with a single television transmitter in Fargo, Prairie Public Broadcasting has grown to become the premier broadcaster of public television and radio services throughout the prairie region.

John Mix Stanley

Jul 13, 2018

In 1853 the US Army's topographic bureau set out to find the best transcontinental passages across the American West and scout routes for a railroad. The necessity of a passage from east to west coasts was growing more and more apparent as people headed to California in search of gold. Five survey teams were formed between 1853 and 1855: From Oklahoma to Los Angeles, St. Louis to San Francisco, Texas to Sand Diego, San Diego to Seattle, and St. Paul to the Puget Sound.

In a war torn country, life is fraught with hardship.  Paul and Lydia Zondo grew up in Liberia during the First Liberian Civil War, a conflict that killed a quarter of a million people from 1989 to 1997.

They’ve moved many times in their lives, first as refugees, later to find good jobs and a safe place to raise their children. Between them they’ve lived in Liberia, Ghana, New York, Maryland, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Montana, and both Dakotas.

On a hot July morning in 1853, a group of hungry men were navigating the plains of North Dakota. As members of the Pacific Railway Survey, they were tasked with finding the best northern route for a transcontinental railroad. Led by Isaac Stevens, a distinguished engineer, the group consisted of soldiers, scientists, engineers, artists, and local guide Pierre Bottineau. Stevens was scheduled to become the first governor of the territory of Washington. He chose to undertake the survey along the way. After 7 weeks of travel, food provisions were growing low. It would be another 7 weeks until they reached Fort Union where they could restock. However, at the rate of their current consumption, their provisions would last only halfway.

Deep in the heart of the sauerkraut triangle, you know your bratwurst from your bockwurst, and strudel from your streusel. And you know your polka from your two-step.  

Victor Schwahn has been playing the accordion for 73 years. He visited the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Bismarck with friend Harvey Schilling to talk about how he got his start.

Division Day Banners

Jul 11, 2018

Creating North Dakota and South Dakota was no easy matter, with years of partisanship and multiple proposals tossed around for dividing Dakota Territory into states. One school of thought saw dividing Dakota into north and south as vital. About 500 delegates from the various counties convened in July of 1888 in Huron to hash out division of the territory.

Kevin Locke tells StoryCorps Facilitator, Madison Mullen, about a promise and gift made by his friend and benefactor, Arlo Good Bear, shortly before his death. He describes Good Bear's lessons and gift of the hoop dance, which Locke has since shared with people all over the world.

Dina Butcher talks with her daughter, Marnie Piehl, and grandson, Owen Piehl, about her political leanings, involvement, and concerns, and how they are directly influenced by her family history as Jewish refugees in United States who fled Nazi Germany in 1939. Dina reflects on her parents' history, both in the US and in Germany, and no matter the climate, the importance of speaking up.

Council of Defense

Jul 10, 2018

In the Special Session of 1918, the North Dakota Legislature created and funded the North Dakota Council of Defense.  The Council was comprised of the governor, the attorney general, and twelve members selected by the governor.  The Council of Defense was granted broad powers to oversee coal resources and agricultural production.  The governor was granted additional power to authorize other actions necessary for the conduct of the war. 

Farmers in N.D. have always tried to protect themselves from dangers that lurked in everyday life – like lightning, tornadoes, raging bulls, power-and take-off-shafts.

One little-remembered menace for farmers and livestock alike was a common plant named cicuta maculata, which also goes by wild parsnip, muskrat weed, or spotted parsley.  It’s also more-ominously known as water hemlock, snake root, cowbane, snake weed, and beaver poison.

As Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his thousand-man expedition meandered south and west to the Black Hills in the summer of 1874, there were more than soldiers making the trip. A black woman called Aunt Sally was along as a cook; sixty or seventy Arikaras and Santee Sioux were scouts; five journalists tagged along; an engineering detachment and a party of scientists included a geologist, paleontologist and botanist; there were two prospectors; and also on the trail was William H. Illingworth, the expedition photographer.