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Lucid Thomas

  • Around this time of year, many North Dakotans are hunkering down to enjoy the winter holidays. If you were Prince Alexander Phillip Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied in the winter of 1833-34, you would be spending your days with the Indigenous people of the Great Plains, well before the region became North Dakota.
  • The most recent farming crisis occurred in the 1980s. Issues began the decade before as farmers began taking on more debt for land and equipment. Farm debt doubled between 1978 and 1984. Then record production made commodity prices fall, an embargo against the USSR decreased exports, and the price of farmland continued to increase. All of these factors displaced many farmers and ranchers.
  • A murderer fleeing town, only to settle in a quaint community to start a quiet life sounds like an overused trope. However, that is what happened in Minot over 25 years ago. Dr. Robert Bierenbaum was a plastic surgeon and a cherished member of the community. He moved to Minot in 1996.
  • NDSU was created out of a bill that Senator John E. Haggart introduced on January 20, 1890. It called for the development of an Agricultural College and Agricultural Experiment Station in Fargo. The bill passed on March 8, 1890, and the North Dakota Agricultural College became a reality on October 15th that year. While the name might suggest it only focused on farming, the college actually involved many areas of study, including the military.
  • In 1854, white settlers were beginning to travel through present-day North Dakota. As a result, whites and Lakota Bands began clashing. Before then, the Lakota Nation was divided into many factions, but this conflict brought them together by the 1860s. They later divided again over internal conflicts.
  • Beaver pelts were in high demand in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Entire companies revolved around fur trading. The North West Company was such business. It was headquartered in Montreal, but had extensive operations in what is now North Dakota. Some other significant companies were the Hudson Bay Company and the American Fur Company. In their fervor, these businesses didn’t care about overtrapping. In fact, they would often purposefully do so in certain areas to create “beaver deserts” to avert other companies from moving in.
  • Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Being a landlocked state, North Dakota does not have an extensive pirate history. However, many years ago, there were rumors of pirate treasure.
  • The Powder River Battles were a series of skirmishes and battles fought between U.S. troops and the Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne tribes. They lasted from September 1-15, 1865.
  • For many years, Dakota tribes honed their practices of hunting bison. Besides being a food source, the tribes used bison for clothing, shelter, and tools. White settlers and soldiers were attracted to the bison as well, but possessed none of the knowledge the Dakota people had accumulated over millennia.
  • One might wonder how such a beautiful place came to be known as the Badlands. That name came about before the marked hiking trails, onsite bathrooms, and water pumps. For white settlers and soldiers going west, the landscape was dry and difficult for travel. Looking back on records from General Alfred Sully’s expeditions, we can hear firsthand why they hated this land.