Father and son BHSU alums publish book about Standing Rock Reservation

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, November 17, 2015/Categories: 2015

Donovin Sprague
Rylan Sprague

Black Hills State University alums and father, son, Donovin Sprague and Rylan Sprague recently published their book "Standing Rock: Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation."

"Standing Rock: Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation" is a contemporary book that showcases the most recent history of the Standing Rock Reservation through photographs. The oldest photos in the book date from the 1930s.

The Standing Rock Reservation is home to 8,250 Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people of the Oceti Sakowin Nation, located in south central North Dakota and North Center South Dakota. The reservation is the sixth largest in the United States.

"As members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, we are familiar with the great people and achievements from all of our Lakota/Dakota/Nakota tiospaye (family)," Rylan said. "Some of the more significant events, last year's visit from President Obama, led us to focus on this effort on Standing Rock."

Donovin and Rylan met with a large group of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and visited with them about their family history. It took the two about a year to collect photos and to write the Standing Rock Reservation's story. The photographs range from highlighting events, individuals and communities within the Standing Rock Reservation.

"It's so rewarding," Donovin said. "The history and the pride and the interest in the people we worked with was tremendous."

Not only are Donovin and Rylan BHSU alums, but they are also father and son. They have collaborated on musical projects over the years, however this is their first book project together.

"It was important to raise awareness of some significant events that have occurred on Standing Rock and to acknowledge as many Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members as possible," Rylan said. "Even now, after the book is complete, we continue to visit with more people who have meaningful photos and information to share with us."

Donovin Sprague is a 1982 BHSU graduate and American Indian Studies adjunct instructor. He also is a tour guide, musician, artisan and historian. Rylan Sprague is a 2012 BHSU graduate and a Northern Hills District Botanist for the Black Hills Forest Service in Spearfish.

Donovin has published similar books on the Standing Rock and other South Dakota tribes. Those books focused mainly on 19th century history. Copies of "Standing Rock: Lakota, Dakota Nakota Nation" are available at all major retailers and online at www.arcadiapublishing.com.

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