Institute of American Indian Studies

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Cash Lectures

About the Lectures

Part of the Institute of American Indian Studies mission statement directs that we organize "campus programs to promote education and awareness of American Indian culture, issues, and problems." Because of this charge, and after consultation with the Cash family, the annual lecture series was inaugurated in the Fall of 1995. Featuring scholars in the fields of Indian studies, frontier, western, and mining history, the University community is annually enlightened on current scholarship in the respective fields. The four major areas of study reflect the interests of the late Dean Cash.

The Cash Memorial Lecture series was developed through private donations from Dr. Cash's family and friends and continues to grow as other contributions are received. If you are interested in joining the donor's list, please contact us at iais@usd.edu.

Professor Cash never forgot his roots in Bonesteel, South Dakota and the surrounding community. Having forged lifelong friendships with Indian and non-Indian people in his immediate vicinity during his early life, he never forgot the people. He always admonished his students to remember history from small places. His memorial lecture series is built on that thesis: History From Small Places.

Past Lecturers

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. Cash

Dr. Joseph Harper Cash, 64, historian, educator, and former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Dakota, died in his Vermillion home on Tuesday, April 23, 1991. Born in Mitchell, South Dakota, on January 3, 1927, he was graduated from Bonesteel High School and, as a young man, served in the United States Marine Corps. On December 18, 1952, he married his college sweetheart, Margaret Ann Halla, in Vermillion.

Cash earned his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of South Dakota and his doctorate in history from the University of Iowa in 1966. He served on the faculty of Eastern Montana College (Billings) for three years, spending summers conducting oral history interviews on South Dakota's Indian reservations.

In 1968 Dr. Cash joined USD's faculty as professor of history. He held the position of Duke Research Professor of History and served as director of the American Indian Research Project, the Oral History Center, and the Institute of Indian Studies. He was founder and director of the South Dakota Oral History Project, a division of the Oral History Center. In 1977 he was named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held for ten years before returning to full-time teaching in the Department of History.

Dr. Cash was the author of ten books and numerous articles on South Dakota history, mining, Indians, and oral history, including To Be An Indian, The Sioux People, and The Practice of Oral History. His book, Working the Homestake, was a Francis Parkman Prize nominee.

In 1990 he received the Robinson Award in recognition of his work in preserving South Dakota history. His accomplishments while serving the state historical society included work with the state's centennial celebration and realization of the Cultural Heritage Center constructed at Pierre.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Theta, and many professional associations, Dean Cash was recognized in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the Midwest, and Who's Who of Authors. He was a charter member of the South Dakota Committee on the Humanities.

Memorials may be directed to the Dean Joseph H. Cash Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of South Dakota.

Trimble Library Collection Dedication

Charles E. "Chuck" Trimble, former Director of the Institute of American Indian Studies, formally dedicated his personal library to the Joseph H. Cash Library at the 2010 Joseph H. Cash Lecture on October 21, 2010.

Trimble dedicated his collection in honor of Mrs. Margaret Cash Wegner, a longstanding supporter of the Institute. Trimble, Oglala Lakota, grew up in the village of Wanblee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is a graduate of Red Cloud Indian School at Pine Ridge and received a bachelor of fine arts degree from USD.

Trimble founded the American Indian Press Association in 1970, now the Native American Journalists Association. From 1972-1978, he served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. He is president of the Charles Trimble Company, which is dedicated to fostering economic development on Indian reservations and president of the Red Willow Institute which provides technical and management assistance to Native American non-profit organizations.

He has served as president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation and of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress Board of Trustees in Washington, D.C.


The Cash Library contains books, photographs, films, and videos on North American frontier history with special emphases on American Indians, the mining industry, and western literature.

The collection is a gift of Dr. Cash's family to honor his service to the University as Professor of History, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Director of the Institute of American Indian Studies. Located in the Institute of American Indian Studies offices in Dakota Hall, the Cash Library is available for in-house use by students, faculty members, and researchers. The Institute of American Indian Studies conducts research and policy development on tribal governance and issues in contemporary American Indian society.

The Institute also develops, coordinates, and funds interdisciplinary research projects, sustains relations with tribes and tribal colleges, advises on tribal relations and culture, issues publications, administers several endowments supportive of Native American education and student life, and hosts numerous lectures and conferences on topical Native American questions.