Archive for February, 2019

The Richard Deo Grass collection (MS 254) is now open to researchers.

The 4.5 linear feet of material spans the years 1950’s-2010, with the bulk of the material dated 1980-2010.

Richard Deo Grass was born on May 29, 1939 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He was raised off the reservation in Alliance, Nebraska and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He served in the United States Marine Corp from March 3, 1957 to March 5, 1963.

Grass was an activist for the rights of indigenous peoples. He represented the Lakota Nation at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and at the United Nations. He spoke at international conferences and universities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Alaska, and Geneva.   Grass spoke for the Lakota Dakota Nakota (LDN) Tribal Nation at the United States Supreme Court in defense of Native American claims to the Black Hills. He played a pivotal role in persuading his people to reject the Black Hills monetary award dockets A and B.

The collection is organized into eight series: Correspondence, Biographical and Personal Files, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Tribal and Court Records, News Clippings, Ephemera, Media, and Photographs.

Grass died on December 23, 2010 in Rapid City, South Dakota and is buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, Meade County, South Dakota.

Contact the Archives and Special Collections for a copy of the guide to the collection.

Richard Grass Picture

Richard Grass 17 Years old in U.S.M.C

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Cloth Newspaper

You may have noticed that it is COLD outside.

In Dakota Territory and the northern plains, 1880-1881 was also a hard winter. Some areas received 11 feet of snow causing difficulties for trains and wagons delivering supplies. Newspaper publishers ran out of paper, and some newspaper issues were printed on tissue, wrapping paper, wall paper, cloth, and other available material.

The Archives and Special Collections has a March 25, 1881 edition of the Salem Register printed on muslin. It is very likely a product of one of these supply shortages.

This newspaper is located in the uncataloged newspapers box in the Chilson Collection.

For a more detailed description of the hard winter of 1880-1881, see Doane Robinson’s History of South Dakota, Vol. I, 1904, pages 306-309. This is also the winter/spring described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Long Winter and the histories of the flood that washed away Vermillion, South Dakota.


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