September 28, 2012

Dammed Indians is South Dakota's Book One

Native Sun News: Indian author a part of South Dakota book fest

By Evelyn Red LodgeThousands of people are expected to visit the upcoming 10th annual Festival of Books in downtown Sioux Falls.

The festival features this year’s Book One selection, “Dammed Indians Revisited: The Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux” by Michael Lawson.

According to the festival’s website,, more than 40 authors will be on hand to make presentations and offer book signings Sept. 28-30.

What is more, most of the 50 festival events over the three jam-packed days are free, but people are asked to register on the website. The site also states the festival includes events for children and teenagers.

Lawson’s book describes how “In 1944, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation created the Pick-Sloan Plan for multi-purpose water development in the Missouri River Basin. This plan caused more damage to American Indian lands and resources than any other public works project in America,” according to

Local Hunkpati Dakota, or Crow Creek Sioux, scholar and author Elizabeth Cook-Lynn sat down with Native Sun News to talk about Lawson’s book and its connection to her book, “From the River’s Edge,” which will also be featured at the Festival of Books.

“‘Dammed Indians Revisited’ is a non-fiction story of the flooding of the Missouri River with six hydropower dams in the 1950s and 1960s. Actually, it started in 1930 with (the) Flood Control Act,” Cook-Lynn, author of 12 books, said.

“My book, ‘From the Rivers Edge,’ is the only nonfiction book written about this event. It was originally published in 1991 by Arcade Publishing in New York. It has been out of print. Living Justice Press published 1,000 copies of it last month only for the Festival of Books.
Comment:  For more on Native-themed books, see Keillor Interviews Dakota Author and "Why Indigenous Literatures Matter."

Below:  Michael Lawson.

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