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Center for Great Plains Studies

About the Center

The Center for Great Plains Studies is a regional research and outreach program established in 1976 at the University of Nebraska. The mission of the Center is to foster the study of and appreciation for the people, cultures, and natural environment of the Great Plains. A sparsely-populated region with highly variable weather set against grassy, rolling land, the Great Plains stretches westward from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, and northward from the Texas Panhandle into the Canadian Prairie Provinces. The region invites inquiry into the relationships between its natural environment and the cultures brought by its inhabitants, as scholars and residents work both to preserve healthy eco-systems and build thriving human communities. The Center operates the Great Plains Art Museum, the Plains Humanities Alliance, a graduate fellows programs, various scholarly projects, and outreach programs; it publishes Great Plains Quarterly and Great Plains Research; it presents public lectures and interdisciplinary symposia. Much of its work is accomplished by its Fellows and Associate Fellows.

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Center news


Hubbard Lecture: Oct. 10, 7 p.m.

Mary Kathryn Nagle, executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program and a member of the Cherokee Nation, will deliver the sixth annual Claire M. Hubbard First Peoples of the Plains Lecture at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Great Plains Art Museum. A free public reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. Nagle’s talk is titled “Sovereignty and Safety for Native Women.” She will discuss how ensuring the safety of Native women ensures protection and preservation of tribal sovereignty. She will address important legal cases from Worcester v. Georgia to Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and provide information on how the U.S. Supreme Court has played a pivotal role in upholding — and sometimes erasing — the sovereignty of tribal nations.


Great Plains Politics released

Great Plains Politics, by Peter Longo, is the newest book in the the Discover the Great Plains series. It's now available at the University of Nebraska Press and at the Great Plains Art Museum.


Black homesteaders project receives additional funding

The National Park Service has awarded a second grant to the Center for Great Plains Studies to advance the project "Black Homesteaders in the Great Plains." In 2017, Center Director Richard Edwards and post-doctoral researchers Jacob Friefeld and Mikal Eckstrom began work under the first grant to create the first database of all identified black homesteaders in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Since race is typically not listed in homestead filings, this research requires comparing homestead records with decennial census records. Read more >

Check out the Washington Post op/ed on the project.


Plains Safaris

See the video, program, and speaker list for the 2018 Great Plains Symposium - "Plains Safaris: A Conference on Tourism and Conservation in the Great Plains"


Great Plains Literature released

Great Plains Literature, by Linda Pratt, is the newest book in the the Discover the Great Plains series. It's now available at the University of Nebraska Press and at the Great Plains Art Museum


Platte Basin Timelapse project relocates to Center

Platte Basin Timelapse project has found a new home at the Center for Great Plains Studies through a collaboration between the center and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Under the direction of Michael Farrell and Michael Forsberg, the team is now located on the fifth floor of the center at 1155 Q St. It was formerly housed in the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Center on East Campus.


Great Plains Bison released

Great Plains Bison by Dan O'Brien, wildlife biologist, bison rancher, author of Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land (2014), is the newest book in the Discover the Great Plains series. See a bison infographic


Sandhill crane economic impact study released

In partnership with the Center, a team at the University of Nebraska Kearney has released a report on the economic impact of Sandhill crane tourism in Nebraska. Key finding: The economic impact of tourism in central Nebraska during the 2017 sandhill crane migration was $14.3 million. The full report is available for download.


Nebraska Ecotourism Liability report produced

A new report, "Rural Landowner Liability for Recreational Activities in Nebraska" is now available for download. Produced by the Center's Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition and written by UNL Law Professor Anthony Schutz, this guide is intended to give advice to new and operating ecotourism providers in Nebraska.


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Current journal issues

Great Plains Quarterly, Vol 38, No. 3

Current Issue of Great Plains ResearchGreat Plains Research, Vol. 28, No. 2