History of South Dakota
The history of South Dakota describes the history of the U. S. state of South Dakota over the course of several millennia, from its first inhabitants to the recent issues facing the state. Human beings have lived in. Early hunters first entered North America at least 17,000 years ago via the Bering land bridge, which existed during the last ice age and connected Siberia with Alaska. Early settlers in what would become South Dakota were nomadic hunter-gatherers, using primitive Stone Age technology to hunt large prehistoric mammals in the area such as mammoths and camels; the Paleolithic culture of these people disappeared around 5000 BC, after the extinction of most of their prey species. Between AD 500 and 800, much of eastern South Dakota was inhabited by a people known as the'Mound Builders'; the Mound Builders were hunters who lived in temporary villages and were named for the low earthen burial mounds they constructed, many of which still exist. Their settlement seems to have been concentrated around the watershed of the Big Sioux River and Big Stone Lake, although other sites have been excavated throughout eastern South Dakota.
Either assimilation or warfare led to the demise of the Mound Builders by the year 800. Between 1250 and 1400 an agricultural people the ancestors of the modern Mandan of North Dakota, arrived from the east and settled in the central part of the state. In 1325, what has become known as the Crow Creek Massacre occurred near Chamberlain. An archeological excavation of the site has discovered 486 bodies buried in a mass grave within a type of fortification; the Arikara known as the Ree, began arriving from the south in the 16th century. They spoke a Caddoan language similar to that of the Pawnee, originated in what is now Kansas and Nebraska. Although they would at times travel to hunt or trade, the Arikara were far less nomadic than many of their neighbors, lived for the most part in permanent villages; these villages consisted of a stockade enclosing a number of circular earthen lodges built on bluffs looking over the rivers. Each village had a semi-autonomous political structure, with the Arikara's various subtribes being connected in a loose alliance.
In addition to hunting and growing crops such as corn, beans and other squash, the Arikara were skilled traders, would serve as intermediaries between tribes to the north and south. It was through their trading connections that Spanish horses first reached the region around 1760; the Arikara reached the height of their power in the 17th century, may have included as many as 32 villages. Due both to disease as well as pressure from other tribes, the number of Arikara villages would decline to only two by the late 18th century, the Arikara merged with the Mandan to the north; the sister tribe of the Arikaras, the Pawnee, may have had a small amount of land in the state. Both were Caddoan and were among the only known tribes in the continental U. S. to have committed human sacrifice, via a religious ritual. It is said that the U. S. government worked hard to halt this practice before their homelands came to be settled, for fear that the general public might react harshly or refuse to move there. The Lakota Oral histories tell of them pushing the Algonquian ancestors of the Cheyenne from the Black Hills regions, south of the Platte River, in the 18th century.
Before that, the Cheyenne say that they were, in fact, two tribes, which they call the Tsitsistas & Sutaio After their defeat, much of their territory was contained to southeast Wyoming & western Nebraska. While they had been able to hold off the Sioux for quite some time, they were damaged by a smallpox outbreak, they are responsible for introducing the horse to the Lakota. North of the Ioway were an Algonquian nation known as the A'ani, whose territory extended from southern Canada, through western Minnesota & eastern N. Dakota & may have extended as far south as northeast South Dakota. Many of the cultural traits among the Sioux that do not exist among other Siouan peoples—including hairdos—originated with the A'ani. One of the first to be driven off by the Sioux, they moved west & north, splitting into the tribes known as the Gros Ventre and the Arapaho, they are not to be confused with the Hidatsa, who were called Gros Ventre by the French. The Ioway, or Iowa people inhabited the region where the modern states of South Dakota, Minnesota & Iowa meet, north of the Missouri River.
They had a sister nation, known as the Otoe who lived south of them. They were Chiwere speaking, a old variation of Siouan language said to have originated amongst the ancestors of the Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin, they would have had a similar culture to that of the Dhegihan Sioux tribes of Nebraska & Kansas. By the 17th century, the Sioux, who would come to dominate much of the state, had settled in what is today central and northern Minnesota; the Sioux spoke a language of the Siouan language family, were divided into two culture groups – the Dakota & Nakota. By the early 18th century the Sioux would begin to move south and west into the plains; this migration was due to several factors, including greater food availability to the west, as well as the fact that the rival Ojibwe & other related Algonquians had obtained rifles from the French at a time when the Sioux were still using the bow and arrow. Other tribes were displaced during some sort of poorly understood conflict that occurred between Siouan & Algonquian peoples in the early 18th century.
In moving west into the prairies, the lifestyle of the Sioux would be altered, coming to
Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the state of South Dakota, the eleventh largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571; the city lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River. The area has been home to various Native American tribes for centuries. French fur traders first visited in the late 18th century. Vermillion was founded in 1859 and incorporated in 1873; the name refers to the Lakota name: wa sa wak pa'la. Home to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion has a mixed academic and rural character: the university is a major academic institution for the state, with its only law and medical schools and its only AACSB-accredited business school. Major farm products include corn and alfalfa. Lewis and Clark camped at the mouth of the Vermillion River near the present-day town on August 24, 1804; the previous day, they had killed their first bison. In May 1843, John James Audubon visited the Vermillion ravine to view the bird life.
The town was considered for the location of South Dakota's first mental institution in 1873, but the hospital was awarded to nearby Yankton. The original town was below the bluffs on the banks of the Missouri River, three-quarters of it washed away in the Great Flood of 1881. William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft—candidates for the U. S. Presidency in the 1908 election -- spoke in Vermillion on September 29, 1908, respectively. Along with Eugene Chafin, they toured South Dakota by train, including stops in Mitchell, Tripp and Elk Point. John Philip Sousa conducted the Sousa Band on October 26, 1926, at the facility that in 1929 became known as Slagle Auditorium. On March 24, 1967, in Vermillion, Thomas James White Hawk and William Stands murdered jeweler James Yeado and raped his wife. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.03 square miles, all land. The elevation of the city is 1,221 feet. Vermillion operates under the council-manager form of government.
Its governing body has nine members. Eight City Council members are elected with two members representing each ward; the Mayor presides over City Council meetings. The mayor may vote on all matters coming before the governing body. With the consent of the City Council, the mayor appoints individuals to serve on the Library Board and Planning Commission; the Library Board oversees the operations of the Vermillion Public Library and appoints a Library Director. All services and programs provided by the library are overseen by the board; the Planning Commission is charged with overseeing the long-range planning of the community, including zoning issues and formulation of the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission serves a vital role in recommending major policy changes to the governing body for the development of the community; as of the census of 2010, there were 10,571 people, 3,811 households, 1,692 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,623.1 inhabitants per square mile.
There were 4,043 housing units at an average density of 1,003.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 89.6% White, 1.7% African American, 3.6% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.5% from other races, 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.4% of the population. There were 3,811 households of which 22.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 55.6% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.90. The median age in the city was 23.4 years. 15.3% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 9,765 people, 3,647 households, 1,801 families residing in the city; the population density was 2,549.3 people per square mile.
There were 3,967 housing units at an average density of 1,035.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 90.95% White, 1.29% African American, 3.37% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, 1.56% from two or more races. 1.07 % of the population were Latino of any race. There were 3,647 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 50.6% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90. In the city, the population was spread out with 17.5% under the age of 18, 36.2% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 13.4% from 45 to 64, 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $24,095, the median income for a family was $40,109. Males had a median income of $28,180 versus $20,975 for females; the per capita income for the city was $13,909. 26.2% of the population and 16.2% of families were below the poverty line. Out o
Jan and Herb Conn
Jan Conn and Herb Conn were climbing and caving pioneers. They are credited with establishing many classic climbs in areas like Carderock in Maryland, Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire and Black Hills of South Dakota, they are well known as cave explorers who in 1960s and 70s discovered and mapped over 60 miles of Jewel Cave, making it the world’s third longest cave system. Both Herb and Jan were raised on the East Coast. Jan grew up in Maryland, just outside Washington, DC in a household with two older sisters. Jan played flute, classical guitar and several other instruments. Herb, whose full name was Herbert William Conn, grew up in upstate New York in Geneva, New York, graduated from the University of Colorado, they married in 1944. During World War II, Herb served as an electrical engineer for the Navy Department in Washington, DC. Jan and Herb spent their spare time exploring the rocks surrounding Washington DC, most notably Carderock where they began climbing in 1942.
They climbed and named lots of the routes at Carderock, including Herbie’s Horror, Jan's Face, Spider Walk and Ronnie’s Leap, named after their dog. Herbie’s Horror, first climbed by Herb, was one of the first 5.9 routes in the eastern United States. They made the first documented ascents of the routes Conn's East and Conn's West at Seneca Rocks, following the pitons left by the mountain troops who trained there. In a letter to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Mountaineering Section the Conns describe a visit to Seneca with Don Hubbard: "Don and the two of us climbed the south peak on a gorgeous moonlit evening, carrying sleeping bags, spent the night on the narrow summit ridge. Don woke up in the night to see the lower half of Jan’s bag flapping over the edge, but Jan was safely curled up in the top half, still anchored to a piton in the rock." In 1944 they started publishing "Up Rope" magazine, which became the official newsletter of the Mountaineering Section of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
In 1946, Herb was discharged from the US Army and the Conns began a five-year period of traveling and climbing around the US with short forays into Canada and Mexico. They became pioneers of what is now praisingly referred to as dirtbag climbing, which they described in the We work in our spare time article: "it is a simple matter of mathematics - two people working six months a year are just as good as one person working twelve months to support two people", they lived in a self-equipped camper converted from a ten-year-old "panel delivery truck". For several years they worked odd jobs and climbed at many locations from Yosemite in California to Mount Katahdin in Maine, making scattered first ascents along the way in places like Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire, Santa Catalina Mountains and Monument Valley in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, Big Bend National Park in Texas. Herb and Jan sought the easiest and most direct routes to the top of the most striking rock formations. Before the development of specialized climbing shoes and protection - like nuts and cams, they climbed in cheap smooth-soled tennis shoes with 80-foot laid nylon rope tied around their waists and used US Army pitons scavenged at Seneca Rocks after World War II.
They used body belays and down-climbed their routes instead of rappelling if it was not possible to walk-off. In spite of this they established many routes that would be challenging or terrifying to today's climbers. In 1947 on a trip to climb Devils Tower, the Conns passed through the Black Hills of South Dakota, it was that they discovered the Needles, with a unlimited quantity of excellent climbing. They settled in the Black Hills where they made around 220 first ascents in the Needles and published a climbing guidebook to the area. With no other climbers in the area they felt, as Herb put it, "like a couple of cats in an untended fish market." In 1949 they adjacent to the Needles. A couple years after that they built a small, rustic stone home they called Conncave where they lived off the grid, without running water or electricity, for the next 60 years. To help finance their climbing and caving adventures they created customized leather and wood products. In addition, each fall for 13 years Herb spent a week doing maintenance work filling in cracks on the four faces of Mount Rushmore, Jan taught guitar and flute.
In 1959, geologist and caver Dwight Deal had done some exploration in a small cave called Jewel Cave, a little known monument in the National Park System. He needed some companions who might help him continue his exploration trips there and turned to his friends and Jan, he asked if they would be interested in grubbing around underground and, after thinking it over, they replied they would try it "once". That one trip turned into a passion of exploring Jewel Cave that lasted for over 22 years, took over 6,000 volunteer hours on 700 trips. From 1959 to 1979, Herb and Jan mapped 62.36 miles of the interior of Jewel Cave. The Conns discovered what is now the Scenic Cave Tour route in 1961; the National Park Service was intrigued by their reports of high, narrow passageways, huge rooms and unusual speleothems and opened a new tour route. In addition to assisting with the construction of this trail, Herb designed the lighting system and dramatic placement of lights still in use today; the cave winds that enticed the explorers further into the cave fascinated Herb, in 1966 he produced an important scientific paper explaining reasons for these barometric winds.
The Conn's book, "The Jewel Cave Adventure," serves not only as a record of their years of cave exploration here, but as an exci
University of Nebraska Press
The University of Nebraska Press known as UNP, was founded in 1941 and is an academic publisher of scholarly and general-interest books. The press is under the auspices of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the main campus of the University of Nebraska system. UNP publishes non-fiction books and academic journals, in both print and electronic editions; the press has strong publishing programs in Native American studies, Western American history, sports and national affairs, military history. The press has been active in reprinting classic books from various genres, including science fiction and fantasy. Since its inception, UNP has published more than 4,000 books and 30 journals, adding another 150 new titles each year, making it the 12th largest university press in the United States. Since 2010, two of UNP's books have received the Bancroft Prize, the highest honor bestowed on history books in the U. S. UNP began in November 1941 at the prompting of University of Nebraska Chancellor Chauncey Borcher, who hired Emily Schossberger as UNP's first editor.
UNP became 7th in the Midwest. During Schossberger's 17-year tenure UNP published 97 books focused on regional titles and the works of Louise Pound, Karl Shapiro, George W. Norris. Following Schossberger's departure, Bruce Nicoll became UNP's first official director and Virginia Faulkner became editor-in-chief. Nicoll led the UNP for 27 years and expanded its focus to publish books of more diverse backgrounds, not monographs for and by scholars; that led to the launch of UNP's first imprint in 1961, Bison Books, specializing in paperback books which would be sold in non-traditional places such as truck stops, drug stores, gas stations. In 1966 the press expanded by creating distribution partnerships overseas. In 1975, Dave Gilbert became UNP director and reoriented Bison Books toward a more western focus. Gilbert hired designer Richard Eckersley and his wife Dika to bring all book design in house. Gilbert left UNP for a post at Cornell University and was succeeded by editor-in-chief Bill Reiger, UNP's third full-time director.
Reiger expanded UNP's focus beyond the American West. UNP into foreign translations and literature France and Scandinavia, with three translation authors receiving Nobel Prizes. By 1991, UNP had 2,000 books in print, was adding 100 new books a year, had annual sales of $4.5 million. In 1995, Dan Ross took over as UNP's fourth director, expanding Bison Books to focus on sports books baseball, resulting in UNP's regarded publishing program in sports; that same year UNP's annual sales topped $6 million, a 600 percent increase from 1980. By the early 2000s, Gary Dunham took over as director and in 2009 UNP sold its longtime warehouse in the Haymarket. With Donna Shear as editor-in-chief, Bison Books was redefined to represent books of the west and UNP in general switched to a print-on-demand model of publishing, coordinating simultaneous release of e-books with the print editions. Shear tripled journal production to 30 publications and in September 2011 the press entered into a collaborative publishing arrangement with the Jewish Publication Society, one of the oldest Jewish publishers in the United States.
In April 2013, the press acquired Potomac Books, a publisher specializing in military and diplomatic topics. With the new additions, UNP surpassed $7 million in sales in 2015, moved up in status with the American Association of University Presses, become the 12th largest university press in the country. Since 2010, two of the press' books have received the Bancroft Prize, the highest honor bestowed on history books in the U. S. Under its Nebraska imprint, UNP publishes both scholarly and general interest books, with a particular focus on Native and Indigenous studies, sports history, American studies and cultural criticism, environmental studies and creative works. UNP publishes scholarly editions of the works of Willa Cather, including the classics My Antonia and O Pioneers!. Bison Books began in 1961 as UNP's first trade imprint and focused on inexpensive paperbacks of general-interest works in Western Americana. In 2013 Bison Books shifted its focus to the trans-Mississippi West; the imprint has featured the work of notable authors such as André Breton, George Armstrong Custer, William F. Cody, Loren Eiseley, Michel Foucault, Che Guevara, Wright Morris, Tillie Olsen, Mari Sandoz, Wallace Stegner, Leo Tolstoy, Philip Wylie, Stefan Zweig.
Potomac Books began in 1983 as the imprint of British publishing house Brassey and established a strong reputation for works on military history. The trade imprint was acquired by Books International in 1999 and renamed Potomac Books in 2004, expanding its catalog to include world and national affairs, presidential history and diplomacy, biography and memoir. UNP purchased Potomac Books in 2013; the Jewish Publication Society known as JPS and known as the Jewish Publication Society of America, is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English. Founded in Philadelphia in 1888, JPS is well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, the JPS Tanakh. UNP purchased all of JPS's outstanding book inventory, is responsible for the production and marketing of all JPS publications, although JPS continues its operations from its Philadelphia headquarters, acquiring new manuscripts and developing new projects. Prairie Schooner magazine Nineteenth-Century French Studies Official website Fight Over a Beloved Book
Jewel Cave National Monument
Jewel Cave National Monument contains Jewel Cave the third longest cave in the world, with 200.3 miles of mapped passageways. It is located 13 miles west of the town of Custer in Black Hills of South Dakota, it became a national monument in 1908. Frank and Albert Michaud, two local prospectors, discovered the cave in 1900, when they felt cold air blowing out of a small hole in a canyon, it is unknown whether any previous inhabitants of the area were aware of the natural cave opening, not large enough for a person to enter. After enlarging the cave entrance with dynamite, the Michaud brothers found a cavern lined with calcite crystals, which led them to name it "Jewel Cave." The brothers tried to capitalize on the discovery, widening the opening, building walkways inside, opening it to tourists. Although their venture was unsuccessful, news of the discovery reached Washington. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Jewel Cave a National Monument on February 7, 1908; the area around the natural entrance to the cave was further developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
The National Park Service assumed management of the monument in 1933 and began offering tours in 1939. As as 1959, less than 2 miles of passageway had been discovered; that year, however and Jan Conn, local rock climbers, began exploring, within two years had mapped 15 miles. Much of the new discoveries lay outside the boundaries of the monument, under land managed by the United States Forest Service; the two agencies performed a land swap in 1965, establishing the present boundaries of the park, enabling the development of a new part of the cave. The Park Service sunk a 300 feet elevator shaft to a remote cave area, built concrete walks and metal stairs and platforms along a one-half-mile loop; the "Scenic Tour" was opened in 1972. Most modern-day visitors tour that part of the cave. In August 2000, an 83,000 acres forest fire burned 90 % of the surrounding area; the visitor center and historic buildings were spared. By 1979, Herb and Jan Conn had discovered and mapped more than 64 miles of passages.
Although they retired from caving by the early 1980s, exploration has continued unabated. Because the areas being explored take many hours to reach, explorers now sometimes camp in the cave during expeditions of as long as four days; the cave is mapped by traditional survey techniques, using compass and today with lasers instead of tape measures. Its 198.00 mi of mapped passageway make Jewel Cave the third longest cave in the world, after Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky and Sistema Sac Actun at the Yucatán Peninsula, at 198 mi. The discovered areas in the cave account for only about 3 to 5% of the estimated total air volume of the cave; the cave volume is estimated by measuring the amount of air that the cave "exhales" when the outside air pressure drops and "inhales" when the outside air pressure rises. Jewel Cave is a "breathing cave," which means air enters or exits the cave with changes in atmospheric pressure from day to night or due to changes in the weather; this was first explained by Herb Conn in 1966.
Most of the cave formed within the Mississippian Pahasapa Limestone deposited 350 million years ago. The limestones and shales deposited in these Paleozoic and Mesozoic seas were eroded with the geologic uplift associated with Laramide Orogeny and the formation of the Black Hills; the main passages of the cave formed in the early Cenozoic. Uplift continued in the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene lowering the water table and draining the cave. Jewel Cave passages follow a pattern of joint development; the faults and joints are associated with the uplift of the Black Hills 58 to 54 million years ago. After main cave dissolution, a thick layer of calcite lined the walls about 2.5 million years ago. During cave development and afterwards and speleogens formed, including the "jewels" or spar. Other examples include stalactites, flowstone, cave popcorn, helictites, conulites, cave pearls, rafts, rims and frostwork; the gypsum formations include needles, cotton, hair and spiders. Jewel Cave contains a rare formation called a hydromagnesite balloon.
Those are created when gas of an unknown source inflates a pasty substance formed by the precipitation of the magnesium carbonate hydroxide mineral. Jewel Cave is open year round; the Park Service offers three tours: the scenic tour, a half-mile loop through a paved and lighted central portion of the cave accessible by elevator. There are 3 surface trails varying in difficulty. List of caves List of longest caves in the United States Wind Cave National Park Mammoth Cave National Park Lehman Caves Oregon Caves National Monument Russell Cave National Monument Timpanogos Cave National Monument Speleology
South Dakota is a U. S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States; as the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city. South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana; the state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and distinct halves, known to residents as "East River" and "West River". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending.
Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west; the state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome. Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still influence the state's culture. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, is considered a part of the Midwest by the U. S. Census Bureau; the culture and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total area of 77,116 square miles, making the state the 17th largest in the Union. Black Elk Peak named Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft, is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft. South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota.
The geographical center of the U. S. is 17 miles west of Castle Rock in Butte County. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is between Allen and Kyle, 1,024 mi from the nearest coastline; the Missouri River is the longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, Big Sioux, White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, Lewis and Clark Lake. South Dakota can be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, the Black Hills; the Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota. The geography of the Black Hills, long considered sacred by Native Americans, differs from its surroundings to such an extent it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. At times the Black Hills are combined with the rest of western South Dakota, people refer to the resulting two regions divided by the Missouri River as West River and East River.
Eastern South Dakota features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies, the Dissected Till Plains, the James River Valley; the Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. Further west, the James River Basin is low, flat eroded land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south; the Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota; these are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, the product of several successive periods of glaciation which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till, over the area. The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota.
West of the Missouri Rive