Dakota Datebook | Prairie Public Broadcasting

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 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.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m. on this date in 1957, a tornado ripped through north Fargo. Called by many the “storm of the century,” it left 13 dead, more than 100 injured, and 329 homes destroyed. Churches, schools and other buildings were left in shambles.

Reclamation Act

Jun 19, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s initial concern for the staggering dryness of the Western landscape was fostered by his Badlands experience. Water is naturally essential for a rancher, a meadowlark, or a tree. President Roosevelt’s first message to congress included his persistent emphasis on a nation’s co-dependence with the natural world. His passion never faltered.

Sioux Sun Dance

Jun 18, 2019

It was on this date in 1934 that President Roosevelt signed the Indian Reorganization Act, which sought to restore self-government for indigenous people. In keeping with the act, tribes were encouraged to adopt constitutions or charters. In North Dakota, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, as the Three Affiliated Tribes, soon adopted a constitution. Other tribes in North Dakota would later follow suit.

Doctor Webster Merrifield became UND’s third president on this date in 1891. Merrifield grew up in Vermont and graduated from Yale in 1877. For the next two years, he taught in a private school in New York, then spent the next four years as a Greek and Latin tutor at Yale. He moved to Dakota Territory in 1883 to fill the chair of Latin and Greek at the newly established University of North Dakota, where he also taught Literature and Political Science.

Fargo Mayor Johnson

Jun 14, 2019

Most of Dakota Territory’s early officials had colorful pasts before coming to this new home on the plains. That was certainly true of John Augustus Johnson, one of Fargo’s early mayors. He was born in Sweden and came to America in 1854, but shortly after arriving, his mother and two sisters died from cholera. His surviving family eventually settled in Stillwater, Minnesota.

On this date in 1908, the Dickinson Press announced that plans for a Carnegie library were moving forward. It would not be long before Dickinson would be blessed with a fine library – a worthy addition for the growing town.

Coming Home

Jun 12, 2019

On this date in 1919, the Weekly Times-Record of Valley City noted that coming home wasn’t always easy for returning veterans. Newsreels showed joyous films of ships being greeted by cheering crowds. Newspapers ran front page pictures of celebratory parades. Towns across the country welcomed their veterans with concerts, parades, and picnics. But the newspaper noted that homecoming was not so glorious for every veteran. Some didn’t have a home to go to. Others didn’t know if they had a home or not. Some had not received a letter from home in months. Some hadn’t received a letter the entire time they were gone. For these veterans, coming home was not the grand and glorious event portrayed in the movies, newspapers, and magazines.

Theodore Roosevelt was the product of a loving and supportive family – influencing his entire life. TR’s record of social concern, the American people, ethical standards, honesty, scholarship and the safeguarding of our national resources are incomparable hallmarks of his life, passions and presidency.

: From the historic North Dakota postcard collection of Nels Backman

History of the Garrison Dam is forever entwined with the lifeways of the native people of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. The massive water project for flood control and hydroelectric power took seven years to construct west of Underwood, North Dakota. But the massive rolled earth dam also claimed the lives of 15 workers and most of the reservation's river bottom land, which the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people had relied on for centuries for their gardens, water and other resources. The Garrison Dam forced them to higher, windier ground and the new town of New Town as the reservoir of what would become Lake Sakakawea swallowed their homes. 

About this time in 1949, North Dakotans were learning that a man doing time for forgery in Michigan had confessed to killing two people in North Dakota. One of his victims was shot in a beauty salon in Jamestown, and the other was a man named James Woods.