Great Plains Book of the Month

Each month the Center for Great Plains Studies features one book as its "Great Plains Book of the Month." We carefully choose books that are accessible and on topics of interest and importance for our region. They may be on any subject, of any genre, published within the last couple of years; occasionally we may feature a book published by or written at the Center. Mainly we want to bring attention to what we consider exceptional works both to learn from and enjoy.


March Book of the Month

Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930

Karen V. Hansen explores the epic issues of co-existence between immigrant settlers and Dakota Indians and the effect of racial hierarchies, both legal and cultural, on marginalized peoples. Hansen offers a wealth of intimate detail about daily lives and community events, showing how both Dakotas and Scandinavians resisted assimilation and used their rights as new citizens to combat attacks on their cultures. As our GPQ reviewer noted, this book is “one of the most innovative books on the Great Plains since Pekka Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire. In detailing the rich sociocultural interactions between Scandinavian settlers and the Dakota Nation, Hansen moves beyond simply recounting how the Dakota Nation lost land in the Great Plains. This monograph gives voice to those who lived together on Sprit Lake.”

Book Review: Great Plains Quarterly, by Mikal Eckstrom

Details: History/United States/Immigration, 2013

Publisher: Oxford University Press

“How did it happen that Scandinavian immigrants and their descendants came to live together on a Dakota Indian reservation? Here is the story, profoundly human, of dispossession and occupation: deftly nuanced, deeply sourced, engagingly written. A first-rate history.”

—Walter Nugent, author of 'Into the West: The Story of Its People'

Encounter on the Great Plains

Past Great Plains Books of the Month:

American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains (Dan Flores)
A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World (Paul Johnsgard)