About Us

Rivers Run Through It
South Dakota's Rivers and Streams and the Flow of History
South Dakota State Historical Society
2013 History Conference
May 3-4, 2013

Featured Speakers

Ryan Alcorn received his B.A. in Field Biology at the University of Northern Colorado and has worked for the US Forest Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management prior to joining the Bureau of Reclamation in 2004. Ryan is currently the Team Lead for the environmental and resource management division located in Reclamation’s Rapid City office. Ryan’s primary duties include coordination of environmental, cultural, and natural resource and recreation management.

Curt Anderson has worked for the Bureau of Reclamation for 32 years and holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska, and he is a registered engineer in South Dakota. His duty locations have included Grand Island, NE; Riverton, WY; Newell, SD; and Rapid City, SD. He currently specializes in Facilities Operations, which involves the management and operation and maintenance of the dams and reservoirs operated out of the Rapid City field office: Pactola, Deerfield, Angostura, Belle Fourche, and Shadehill in South Dakota and Keyhole in Wyoming.

Renee Boen received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology/Sociology from the University of South Dakota and her master’s degree in Anthropology/Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska. She held the position of repository manager at the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Archaeological Research Center for over 20 years prior to taking on the position of South Zone Archaeologist for the Black Hills National Forest. In 2011 she accepted a position as the Area Archaeologist for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rapid City field office. The position includes managing cultural resources the bureau’s dams and reservoirs. She is also responsible for National Historic Preservation Act compliance work for all projects associated with these dams, reservoirs, and irrigation districts.

Graham Callaway received his master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 2012. Callaway’s recent publications include his thesis Landscape History in the G.K. Warren Missouri River Maps  (2012 University of Arkansas) and an upcoming whole journal  with W. Raymond Wood entitled Lieutenant Gouverneur Kemble Warren’s 1855 and 1856 Manuscript Maps of the Missouri River (State Historical Society of North Dakota). He lives in Dover, Massachusetts.

Dr. L. Adrien Hannus is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Archeology Laboratory at Augustana College, has nearly 40 years of archeological experience, specializing in prehistoric and historic cultural dynamics. His educational background includes a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, with an emphasis in archaeology, and an M.A. in cultural anthropology from Wichita State University. In addition to conducting cultural and archaeological fieldwork throughout the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain West, he has collaborated on projects in Egypt, Mexico, France, and Great Britain. His teaching and research interests include early human populations in the New World, historic Native American cultures of the Plains, and lithic analysis.

Dr. Nathan Hitchcock is Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology at Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD. After receiving master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota and Sioux Falls Seminary, he earned his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). He has published scholarly work in the fields of Church history, Christian theology, and gender studies.

Craig Johnson is an archaeologist with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in St. Paul. He received a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1973 and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1977. Much of his research has involved the Plains Village peoples who occupied villages along the
Missouri River in North and South Dakota. He has published a number of papers and book chapters, ranging from individual site reports, a synthesis of late village cultures, to topical analyses such as chipped stone raw material use. In 2007 the Smithsonian Institution published his comprehensive study of ceramics entitled A Chronology of Middle Missouri Plains Village Sites. His most recent work involves an ongoing site report of the 1997–1998 excavations at a large Initial Middle Missouri village near Pollock, South Dakota and a detailed analysis of chipped stone raw material use from over 150 sites, spanning the Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Plains Village cultural traditions.

Robert E. Kolbe received a B.A. in biology and education from Westmar College, LeMars, Iowa and earned an MNS in zoology and geology at the University of South Dakota. Since 1972 he has dealt in antiques, books, and clocks in Sioux Falls. Mr. Kolbe is a life member of the Fort Ridgley Historical Society, Sleepy Eye Historical Society, and Brown County Historical Society (all in Minnesota). He has been a presenter at the Dakota History Conference for more than 20 years. He served as liaison to the Old Court House Museum during his 20 years as Minnehaha County commissioner. He was the recipient of the Dakota History Conference Preservationist Award in 1999 and the Siouxland Heritage Museum Volunteer Award in 2009. He also received the West River History Conference Award for Preservation of History of Dakota Territory and South Dakota in 2011. Mr. Kolbe is the editor of Minnehaha County Historical and Biographical Sketches, 1998 and coauthor of They Captured the Moment, Photographers of Dakota Territory 1855–1920. He is currently researching a book on stereographic views of the Black Hills gold rush 1875–79 and is accumulating additional information for the 2nd edition of They Captured the Moment. He is the current president of the Minnehaha County Historical Society.

Barbara J. Cottrell Larsen currently works for the National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri. She received her degree in history and math from Ripon College, Wisconsin. She is a prolific author. Her most recent books include Steamboats West: The 1859 American Fur Company Missouri River Expedition with Lawrence H. Larsen (2010), Upstream Metropolis: An Urban Biography of Omaha and Council Bluffs with Lawrence H. Larsen, Harl A. Dalstrom, Kay Calamé Dalstrom (2007), and The Gate City: A History of Omaha with Lawrence H. Larsen. She is also Co-editor of Guide to Records in the National Archives-Central Plains Region (1994).

Dr. Lawrence H. Larsen is professor emeritus of history at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been the director of the Urban History Section at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Visiting Lecturer at the Department of History, Carroll College, and Acting State Archivist for the State of Wisconsin. Some of his many awards include a Special Joint Award of Missouri Conference on History and United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri for services in historical profession and the Annual Book Award of the Missouri Conference on History for the Best Book Published by a Missouri Resident on Any Historical Subject. He has published over 60 articles and 18 books. His two most recent books are Steamboats West: The 1859 American Fur Company Missouri River Expedition with Barbara J. Cottrell and Upstream Metropolis: An Urban Biography of Omaha and Council Bluffs with Barbara J. Cottrell, Harl A. Dalstrom, and Kay Calamé Dalstrom.


Rick Mills is the Executive Director of the South Dakota State Railroad Museum in Hill City, and a lifelong railroad enthusiast. He wrote and published his first book on railroad history in 1985 while a freshman at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has since authored five books on regional railroad history, co-authored and contributed to four other books, produced articles and photo essays for railroad and history publications, and has been involved in the design and organizational phases of three regional museums.

Dr. Perry Rahn is Emeritus Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in geology from Pennsylvania State University in 1965. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the Geological Society of America, the Association of Engineering Geologists, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, and the National Society of Professional Engineers. His research and publications deal with engineering geology, hydrogeology, and geomorphology. He is the author of Engineering Geology, an Environmental Approach, for which he received the Claire P. Holdredge Award by the Association of Engineering Geologists in 1987, and the E.B. Burwell Award by the Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Association of America in 1990.

Dr. Brad Tennant is an Associate Professor of History at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In addition to his teaching assignments, Tennant is an active researcher, writer, and presenter on a variety of state and regional topics. He is a member of several national, state, and local historical organizations and serves as the Director of Presentation College’s Wein Gallery. He has been the President of the South Dakota State Historical Society Board of Trustees since 2011. He received his Ph.D. from the University of South Dakota. He has published articles in South Dakota History, Heritage of the Great Plains and South Dakota Magazine.

Joseph A. Tiffany is Executive Director of the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center and Professor of Archaeology at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. He has over 35 years of experience in Midwest and Plains archaeology. Tiffany has over 150 publications and has made numerous presentations and chaired symposia and sessions at regional and national conferences. He has served on the boards of many public and professional organizations, including the Plains Anthropological Society and the Council for Museum Anthropology. Tiffany’s research focuses on the archaeology of late prehistoric village farmers of the prairies and plains. He is currently editor of The Wisconsin Archeologist, the oldest continuously published archaeological journal in North America. Tiffany has received several awards, including the Keyes-Orr Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Archeological Society in 2003.

Lonis Wendt, of Vivian, South Dakota, is a retired USPS letter carrier. He has a life-long interest in history, having written several newspaper articles about historical events of both local and national interest. His hobby is collecting maps, books, and—accompanied by wife Lois—traveling to historic places. Wendt served as Chairman for the production of the 1997 Lyman County Historical Society book Winds of Change, has written a revised Lyman County history, spent four years on the Lewis and Clark Trail, and was a co-author, along with Ken Stewart and James D. Osburn, of a booklet titled Fort Pierre-Deadwood Trail, Then and Now. Wendt also produced a DVD documentary and assisted in the development of an authentic map—using GPS, photos, and an original surveyor’s map—detailing the Ft. Pierre-Deadwood Territorial wagon road. He is the 2011 winner of the Governor’s Award for History.