Dakota Datebook

6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT
  • Hosted by Prairie Public

Sitting Bull to Phil Jackson, cattle to prairie dogs, knoefla to lefse. Dakota Datebook radio features air weekdays at 6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT on Prairie Public. Find the 2003-2017 archives here.

*These airtimes during Main Street may vary.

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Dakota Datebook is is generously funded by the North Dakota Humanities Council, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of the North Dakota Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

There was a time when taking a chance and “rollin’ the bones” meant literally rolling bones. The “bones” in this case are playing dice. Evidence of dice games dates back over 8,000 years, with various cultures making the die from shells, fruit pits, and animal bones. In particular, the ankle bones of sheep and cattle made good die because they are naturally cube-like in shape.

On this date in 1911, the Ward County Independent reported that Lucky Bob St. Henry had presented a spectacular exhibition at Minot. Several thousand people gathered at the Minot fairgrounds to watch Lucky Bob take to the air in his Curtis biplane named “Sweetheart.” Described as “the brave bird man,” Lucky Bob brought the first flight to the Minot area.

Jefferson's Plan

Aug 16, 2018

Part of Thomas Jefferson’s plan, when sending the Corps of Discovery across the American continent, was to foster positive relationships with the American Indians they encountered along the way. Initial contact between Lewis and Clark and Native Americans would be a crucial first-step, but Jefferson hoped to further cement US-Indian relationships by inviting tribal leaders to Washington D.C. to introduce them to the wonders of American civilization and impress upon them the advisability of an alliance with the United States.

New Draft

Aug 15, 2018

The American Expeditionary Forces were advancing, with the British and French forces, along the front in France. The causalities were heavy.  As of August 1, 1918, over 1.3 million American soldiers were in France.  The War Department announced plans to send a quarter of a million men per month to France. They were determined to expand the presence of American forces in hopes of shortening the war. This strategy would put almost 3.6 million men at the front by June of 1919, and it would call for a significant increase in the draft.  Congress was posed to expand the draft age to include all males between the ages of 18 and 45. The call was out for North Dakota to prepare to enroll 75,000 men in August and September. 

Amber Waves of Grain

Aug 14, 2018

Samuel Glover once owned the largest farm in Dickey County. On this date in 1891, the Oakes Times ran an article about the operation. Glover planted 2,500 acres of wheat. It was described as “a golden sea of grain so tall that a person wading into its depths would be all but lost to view.”

It was this week in 1825 when Sioux Chief Waneta signed the Treaty of Prairie du Chien. It preserved all lands now in Central Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska for the Native American tribes.  Afterward, Waneta traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with President John Quincy Adams. While there, Charles Bird King painted a portrait of the distinguished Chief.

American Soul

Aug 10, 2018

When Dakota Territory was settled, the United States encouraged the arrival of European immigrants.  At a federal court hearing this week in 1918, Judge Charles Amidon, noted this in the sentencing of the Rev. John Fontana, pastor of the German Evangelical Lutheran church of New Salem, who was convicted for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. The judge said, “We urged you to come, we welcomed you, we gave you opportunity, we gave you land, we conferred on you the diadem of American citizenship, and then we went away and left you. We have paid almost no attention to what you were doing.” 

The Missouri River has a plentitude of fish. Modern-day anglers seek to catch wily walleyes, ravenous northern pike, big catfish and even paddlefish. Rough fish also abound, including buffalo fish, goldeye, and bullheads.

In former days, Native Americans harvested fish from the mighty Missouri. Some tribes depended heavily upon fish for food, while others did not. One of the tribes, the Hidatsa, used fish traps, drags, or fishhooks.

Bismarck was founded in 1872. In the style of the times, workers hauled in massive amounts of lumber to build the town, creating an expanse of dry, wooden buildings. It is no surprise then that they finished a volunteer firehouse in 1884. The department had some rudimentary equipment like a ladder wagon, but they were not prepared for the blaze that flared up on this date in 1898.

Dividing a territory is no easy matter as Dakotans discovered in the 1880s. Residents of the southern portion of Dakota Territory were eager to become a state. At a convention in 1883, representatives drafted a proposed state constitution. Voters of the forty-two counties approved it and the constitution was submitted to Congress. The Senate approved statehood for the portion of Dakota Territory south of latitude forty-six, but the measure didn’t pass in the House. Those determined to achieve statehood for South Dakota were undeterred. They held another convention in 1885. A new constitution was drafted and submitted to the voters. It passed overwhelmingly.