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Historian author to speak on Native Americans and Missouri River

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Missouri River Institute and the South Dakota Humanities Council are presenting a lecture by historian and author Michael L. Lawson at 1 p.m. on April 30 at Farber Hall.

Lawson will discuss the impact of the dams built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Missouri River as part of the Pick-Sloan Plan. His lecture will provide a snapshot of how the Sioux utilized and adapted to the Missouri before the dams were built, and how these projects displaced hundreds of Sioux families, forcing them to move from their homes on resource-rich bottomlands. He will also discuss how government management of the Missouri River has evolved under Pick-Sloan. Lawson will conclude by describing how developments over the last three decades have allowed the Sioux tribes to gain additional compensation from Congress for their original losses and to finally realize more tangible benefits from the Pick-Sloan projects.

A partner in Morgan, Angel & Associates LLC, a historical and public policy consulting firm in Washington, D.C., Lawson is the author of “Dammed Indians Revisited: The Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux.”

Lawson’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, was made possible with a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News