Nationally-acclaimed SD author to speak at BHSU

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, December 3, 2014/Categories: 2014

South Dakota rancher and nationally-known author Dan O'Brien will hold a lecture and book signing for his new book "Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land" at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 9 in Clare and Josef Meier Hall, room 128, on the BHSU campus.

Dan O'Brien will sign copies of his new book, "Wild Idea: Buffalo & Family in a Difficult Land," during a presentation at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 9 on the BHSU campus.

Nationally-recognized South Dakota author Dan O'Brien will share his journey to building sustainable food practices during a lecture at Black Hills State University.

O'Brien will give a lecture and reading of his new book "Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 in Clare and Josef Meier Hall, room 128. O'Brien will hold a book signing following his presentation. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. Books are also available for sale at the University bookstore in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union and for loan in the E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center on campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

O'Brien, who lives in western South Dakota where he ranches buffalo, is the author of numerous books and memoirs that tell the stories of his ranch, family and career as a wildlife biologist. His most recent book, "Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land," tells the story of a family in the Great Plains and the people and animals that surround them while trying to build a healthy life in a big, beautiful, yet dangerous land. The book is the sequel to "Buffalo for the Broken Heart," which explores the history of O'Brien's ranch and his conversion from raising beef to buffalo.

Black Hills State University students in Mary Kwenda's academic writing course are currently reading "Buffalo for the Broken Heart." Kwenda contacted O'Brien, asking him to speak at BHSU.

"He's a humble writer. He's not afraid to talk about his own weaknesses or feelings, which is brave when running a business," Kwenda said. "He's clear about South Dakota life and culture."

"As South Dakotans, we have a story to tell," O'Brien said. "My story happens to do with buffalo. I sit down and give people in the region an idea of how I'd like to change the world for the better. We do it through the buffalo, the grass on the Great Plains and biodiversity."

Nearly 20 years ago, O'Brien converted his cattle ranch into a buffalo ranch in the hopes to provide a healthier, more sustainable food option for meat consumers. His buffalo are 100 percent grass fed and roam free on the Great Plains as they did years ago.

O'Brien said he strives to keep with the native cultural values of the buffalo and share ideas about buffalo and the relationship they have to humans the environment.

"I hope to show that there is more than one paradigm for the Great Plains," O'Brien said. "That there is a paradigm that doesn't include factory farming, that doesn't include destruction of the land, the soil and other species. There is a way to survive and thrive on the Great Plains without using it up. We can build on what the Great Plains offers. I want people to think about that."

O'Brien's effort to enhance sustainable food practices will fit in well at BHSU, said Amy Fuqua, professor of English at BHSU and chair of the School of Arts and Humanities. She noted the sustainability efforts at the University, as well as the number of farming and ranching students enrolled at BHSU.

"We're close to the land and we have respect for it," she said. "We have a respect for animals. I expect a lively Q&A session."

Black Hills State University students in Mary Kwenda's academic writing course are currently reading "Buffalo for the Broken Heart."

"He's a humble writer. He's not afraid to talk about his own weaknesses or feelings, which is brave when running a business," Kwenda said. "He's clear about South Dakota life and culture."

"Buffalo for the Broken Heart" was the One Book South Dakota selection in 2009. O'Brien is a two-time winner of the National Endowment for the Arts individual artist's grant, a two-time winner of the Western Heritage Award for best non-fiction and a 2001 recipient of the Bush Creative Arts Fellowship. He also founded the Wild Idea Buffalo Company in 1997. Wild Idea Buffalo Company is a meat company that provides 100 percent grass-fed buffalo meat to consumers.
Print

Number of views (427)/Comments (0)

x
script src="/Portals/_default/skins/bhsu18/js/bootstrap.min.js" type="text/javascript">