Black Hills

Urban Indianz Podcast Episode 021 The Seinfeld Episode About Nothing

Urban Indianz Podcast: Gabriel Night Shield, Char Green, Kat Stands, Levi Hansen

Guests: Alana Snyder from 605 Magazine

Produced By Robert Mehling

Music Spotlight:
“Broken Dreams” From Loved & Hated by Night Shield

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Sacred Hills: Preserving Lakota Sioux Culture in South Dakota

Sequoia Crosswhite is dedicated to preserving and passing on the stories of the Lakota people. As a tour guide in Black Hills, South Dakota, he educates others about the 10,000-year-old native culture, taking them on journeys through the sacred lands and ancient petroglyphs. By walking others through the footsteps of his ancestors, Crosswhite is carrying on and protecting Lakota culture for generations to come.

— From Great Big Story.

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Sioux Empire Podcast 088- Halloween With Ari Show and Dominic Wieneke

In a spooktacular new episode, the podcast crew (Robert Mehling, Natasha Estes, and Seth Glover) investigates the scariest things we know with award-winning filmmakers and hosts of the Chaos Reigns podcast Ari Show and Dominic Wieneke.  No weird idea is too strange or obscure.  We cover bone cathedrals, Spring Heel Jack, The Comte de Saint Germain, Somerton Man, La Noria Cemetery in Chile, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Hawaii Night Marchers, and Castle Houska, the gate to hell.  Also, Seth’s Book Club talks about “Thinking Smarter: Seven Steps to Your Fulfilling Retirement…and Life” by Shlomo Benartzi.   This week’s episode is brought to you by The Sioux Empire Podcast Network, featuring “The Art of Bombing” podcast with Dan Bublitz Jr.  Chaos Reigns podcast with Ari Show and Dominic Wieneke, Queers after Beers podcast with Emily Emily Gheorghiu and Jeni Mc, and The South DaCola podcast with Scott L. Ehrisman.  Listen to all of these great shows and more at  The Sioux Empire Podcast reminds you to have all of your ghost cats spayed or neutered.

Ghost Cat

Ghost Cat photo from Ari Show.

This podcast contains adult content, listener discretion advised.

Chaos Reigns


Sioux Empire Podcast/Chaos Reigns Crossover episode


Church Made of Bones


Adam Ellis Twitter Ghost Story


Aurora Texas UFO body,_Texas,_UFO_incident


Hawaii Night Marchers


Castle Houska, the gate to hell.


Mystery of the Somerton Man


Count of St. Germain


Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague,_Prague


La Noria and Humberstone

Greyfriars Kirkyard


Highgate Cemetery


Lore Podcast


Astonishing Legends Podcast


Rose Hill township, Hand County, South Dakota

Rose Hill township, Hand County, South Dakota.  Special thanks to Sarah Moriarty and Pat Moriarty for the photo.

“the backstory is that house was an old School House in homestead days and Grandpa Maury moved it in and renovated it. Now there was a bad blizzard known as the children’s blizzard some kids passed away in school buildings and walking home. My Aunt and Uncles say there has never been paranormal activity they say that they are not sure if children actually perished in the building itself but they do know the teacher was burning desks and sidewalls in the wood stove to keep warm. There is a grave site and marker on I believe .. (Nearby) …  memorializing the children of the storm.” – Sarah Moriarty

The Children’s Blizzard of 1888


Tags and Topics

Robert Mehling, Natasha Estes, Seth Glover, Ari Show, Dominic Wieneke, Trick or Treat, Trunk or Treat, Chaos Reigns, Casefile 293610, Death Rot, Halloween, Monks, Bones, Cremation, Chichen Itza, Well of Souls, Catacombs of Paris, Adam Ellis, Dear David, Hiking, Mt. Lion, Black Hills, Aurora Texas UFO body, Hawaii Night Marchers, Castle Houska, Tarot, psychic readings, ghost cats, Shlomo Benartzi, Dylan Jacobson, Count of St. Germain, Old Jewish Cemetery Prague, Lore Podcast, La Noria Cemetery in Chile, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Astonishing Legends Podcast, Rose Hill Township, Hand County, South Dakota, Chaos Reigns, Thinking Smarter: Seven Steps to Your Fulfilling Retirement…and Life, IT, Tim Curry, Shlomo Benartzi, Stranger Things, Netflix

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Sioux Empire Podcast 084- Lies, Scams, and Chris Biewer from Cosmic Rage

This podcast contains adult content, listener discretion advised.

This week the Sioux Empire Podcast crew (Robert Mehling and Seth Glover) is getting to the bottom of all the scandals and low down dirty lies in South Dakota with the help of Chris Biewer from Cosmic Rage.  After a ‘brief’ tangent detour (19 min) through North Korea and the War on Terror, we discuss possible vehicular homicide advocate Lynne DiSanto.  We also break down Mayor Huether’s tarnished legacy after he turned the Denny Sanford Premier Center into a house of lies with the siding lawsuit settlement.  Along the way, we also discuss broader themes of the economic and age divide and the death of optimism in America’s young adults.  This episode is also sponsored by Superstitions – A Psychological Spectacle.  From the mind games of Zac Tenneboe (@zstonish) comes his new show, “Superstitions.” It’s more than just a magic show, but a stunning one-man performance weaving mystery and theater. No rabbits. No top hats. No smoke and mirrors. Witness a different way to experience illusion.  The first 50 people to use promo code “siouxempire” will receive $1 off each ticket purchased online. Don’t miss out on this discount deal before it’s too late!  The Sioux Empire Podcast is firmly against vehicular homicide and feels sad we live in a country where that clarification is necessary.


Chris Biewer from Cosmic Rage

The Animated Adventures of Kim Jung-un

North Korean Photoshop Tutorial

Red Star OS (North Korea’s Operating System)

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Drone Pilots

All Lives Splatter

Lynne DiSanto

Lynne DiSanto’s idea of humor.

The Patrick Lalley Show

Greg Belfrage Show

Adam Ruins South Dakota

Gerald’s Game on Netflix

Misery (1990 Film)

Denny Sanford Premier Lies Center

Vikings Stadium Siding

Joe Sneve (Argus Leader Reporter)

Jonathan Ellis (Argus Leader Reporter)

Free Thinkers Billboard Guy

Jodi Schwan

Jubilee Year

Basic Income

Hugh Hefner

Washington Pavilion Kinky Boots

Ken Burn’s The Vietnam War

Sioux Falls Design Week

Tags and Topics:

Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Chris Biewer, Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Donald Trump, The Forever War, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, War On Terror, Drones, American Dad, Lynne DiSanto, All Lives Splatter, Patrick Lalley, Argus Leader, FCC, Greg Belfrage, Baby Boomers, FOX News, Puerto Rico, Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize, Black Lives Matter, Racist Memes, Millennials, Charlottesville, Triggered, Scream Into The Void, Tomi Lahren, Keystone, Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Gerald’s Game, Stephen King, Mike Huether, Denny Sanford Premier Center, Joe Sneve, Adam Ruins Everything, Jonathan Ellis, Falls Park, Febreze, Sioux Empire Podcast Spire, Midterm Elections, Detroit, Flint, Sales Tax Revenue, Student Loan Debt, Jodi Schwan, Universal Minimum Income, Defense Spending, Hugh Hefner, Kinky Boots, Washington Pavilion, Billie Sutton, Ken Burn’s The Vietnam War, Sioux Falls Design Week

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Adam Ruins Everything Takes on The Rushmore State

Comedian and professional buzz kill Adam Conover from College Humor has officially brought his fact checking Adam Ruins Everything snark to South Dakota in billboard form. These photos are a from a set of front and back billboards on highway 12 between Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore. They are part of a campaign to promote season two of his web series (on College Humor) turned TV series (on TruTV).  Here’s a news story about it from KOTA.

While the placement of these billboards is clearly to generate buzz for a TV show (Done and Done) by being edgy and controversial by going after our state symbol, nothing in these billboards is incorrect.

The stolen Indian land thing? Oh yeah. I’ve seen a few people in comment sections say things like “You could say that about all of North America” Which is a gross oversimplification of what happened. In the particular case of the Black Hills, the land was pretty specifically deliberately stolen. There is no story for the Black Hills of it being purchased for beads or traded away in a complex alliance. The Black Hills was specifically promised to the Lakota.

The Lakota defeated the US Army in Red Cloud’s War, prompting the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. The Great Sioux War of 1876, was a series battles including the Battle of Little Big Horn and eventually culminating in the Wounded Knee Massacre. In those treaties, it outlines what lands belong to who. In 1868 in particular, it gives greater detail on what lands belong to who, and how they can be obtained by the US government. The only way was to have the signatures from 3/4 of all males. After killing off of Buffalo and disease ran rampant through the tribes. A few leaders and their bands agreed to sign over rights to lands in an effort for food and to keep the tribe together. In the end, there was MAYBE 1/10 of signatures needed. The Supreme Court ruled the Black Hills were taken illegally. However, instead of returning the lands, the US Government offered money that was significantly less than what the land was worth. That money now sits in an account, but the tribes won’t touch it because they refuse to accept it and acknowledge the seizure of the Black Hills.

The History of the Black Hills and its ownership is way too epic of a story for me to get into in a single blog post but the “Stolen” label is apt. If you’re not a big reader, I highly recommend the History on Fire Podcast Episodes 16, 17, and 18 “The War for the Black Hills” (Parts 1-3).

And the back side of the billboard? Also very true.  I happen to be a big Teddy Roosevelt fan but that doesn’t make the fact that they were totally buddies not true.

So did this billboard make you angry or did you see it for what it was? A deliberately provocative action to attract eyeballs to Adam Ruins Everything. Even a publicity stunt can have truth to it.

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Governor’s Column: The 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:


It’s almost rally time in South Dakota. What started in 1938 as a single motorcycle race in a small town has grown into one of the largest and best-known motorcycle gatherings in the world. This year is the 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and though we don’t expect the numbers will approach the levels we saw two years ago, the rally is sure to bring a crowd.


Motorcycle enthusiasts won’t just be visiting Sturgis. They will be traveling all around the Black Hills – staying in our hotels and at our campgrounds, eating in our local restaurants, shopping in our stores and refueling at our gas stations. Each year the rally has a big economic impact on Sturgis and all of the Black Hills, and that creates benefits for our state too.


An event this size is not without its challenges. To help things go smoothly, the state has opened the Rally Operations Center and a Traffic Operations Center. Local law enforcement, the Highway Patrol and ambulance services will have additional personnel working during the rally.


Many state agencies will provide additional staff to support food safety, drinking water safety, fire safety, roadway safety, emergency communications, and vendor sales tax registrations and collections. National Guard soldiers will also be prepared in the event they are needed to respond to a large-scale disaster.


For the past 76 years, we’ve had no major emergency at the Sturgis Rally. Our goal is to get through the 77th rally with that record intact, but we need help.


We’re asking South Dakotans to do their part to help make this a safe journey for our visitors. Drive carefully and be particularly mindful of the motorcycles on the road. Don’t get distracted by electronic devices. It only takes one mistake to alter your life and someone else’s forever. If you live in the Black Hills area, leave extra time to reach your destinations, and be patient with law enforcement and emergency responders. If something doesn’t look right, let law enforcement know.


For those who are attending the rally, be careful and be prepared. Wear a helmet and proper riding attire. If you are driving a vehicle, wear your seatbelt. Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.


Riders can visit for real-time information and some helpful tips. On the website are links to weather updates, fire danger information, Twitter feeds from the departments of Transportation and Public Safety, and a map of hospital, urgent care, and police station locations.


One of government’s primary functions is to keep people safe. The state of South Dakota is ready to perform that responsibility and we welcome the opportunity to host so many visitors in our great state. If South Dakotans and our visitors do their part, it will go a long way toward helping make the 77th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a safe and fun event.

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Poet’s Table

Next time you are in the Black Hills, you may want to consider visiting the Poet’s Table located in Custer State Park. The Poet’s Table is a green table surrounded by chairs and a cabinet full of notebooks where previous hikers have left their writings and other items for other hikers to find.
Sitting in a relatively flat part of the base of a granite rock outcropping, an area where a mountain climber’s rope can be secured, the Poet’s Table adds to the feeling of serenity one is likely to get while hiking at Custer State Park.
Finding the Poet’s Table has become a challenge to many determined hikers. It is tucked away between a large pine tree and part of a mountain, making the table secluded and difficult to find. A simple search online will lead you to the general location of the table, but finding your way to the table will make your hike a true adventure. It is difficult to find the Poet’s Table when you are looking for it. It is easier to find the table when you are exploring the beauty of the Black Hills and venture off the main path. The table is in a secluded, hidden area to inspire hikers to create while they take a break from hiking and fully absorb the magic of the outdoors. All types of creativity are encouraged at the Poet’s Table, but writing poetry and stories is the main focus.
The green table, which is covered in positive quotes from people who previously made the venture, has a view that many people have described as inspiring and beautiful. The Poet’s Table is said to be hidden because being secluded in a beautiful place sparks creativity, imagination, and inspiration. The notebooks filled with drawings and other creations from previous hikers are often left at the table for years, leaving you the option to appreciate work that other motivated hikers have left while you are visiting the Poet’s Table.
According to Lydia Austin, interpretive program manager at Custer State Park, the Poet’s Table has been at the park since the 60s. There is not a lot of information about where the table originally came from, but it is known that the table was placed by a private entity from the School of Mines in Rapid City as a place of reflection for people who find the Poet’s Table.
She says the “hidden gem” has garnered attention in the past few years due to social media. After finding the table, many people post photos about it and share the moment with their friends. Before it was posted about on social media, the Poet’s Table did not draw much attention and was mostly something that locals knew about.
Rapid City’s Custer State Park holds an intriguing “gem” that is interesting for both kids and adults. The Poet’s Table is worth visiting next time you are hiking at the state park and find yourself getting closer to Black Elk Peak.

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Dakota Free Press Episode 012: Mike Olson, Black Hills, Borehole, Raw Milk, and More!

Incumbent Aberdeen City Council candidate Dennis “Mike” Olson tells all about the fundamental role water plays in developing our city and other city council issues. But first, Spencer Dobson and I discuss his smashing trip to the Hills, the Deep Borehole Field Test, new U.S. House candidate Eric Terrell, election nerd news, and raw milk.

Dakota Free Press Podcast

Dakota Free Press Podcast

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Dakota Free Press Episode 009: Brian Sharp for School Board

Brian Sharp talks about his bid for a fifth term on the Aberdeen school board. But first, Spencer and I talk about bad abortion politics causing more women to die in Texas, a Chinese company applying to dig for uranium and dump toxic water in the Black Hills, and Republicans pretending to be “inclusive.” We also talk about what we’ve learned (and what Donald Trump hasn’t) from Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Dakota Free Press Podcast

Dakota Free Press Podcast

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The 2017 Black Hills Film Festival

So, I promised myself for several years that I would attend the Black Hills Film Festival. Hey – I’m a storyteller. What better environment to be in to watch and hear the stories of creatives coming into our region? I also promised you, the readers of The Sioux Empire Podcast, that I would write about my adventures if I made it this year.
So, I did go. Sort of. I attended one afternoon’s session. Okay, one film. I went to one film, “She Sings to the Stars,” a 1 hour and 40-minute feature length film by Jennifer Corcoran. My friend Ashley and I met up for falafel at Gyro Hub in Rapid and then headed over to the Journey Museum to take in this one film offering on a Friday afternoon.
As we entered the theater, the previous filmmakers were finishing up a Q&A session with the audience. The film that had been shown, “West Virginia Stories” had just concluded and directors Preston Peterson and Jason Boesch were talking about some of the actors they had used in the 88-minute film, which centers around a coal-mining town in Appalachia. Apparently, some of their actors were professionals, but many were extras from around the locations they filmed in, including the parents of one of the filmmakers who each got some screen time. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to see the film, I was intrigued by it based upon the questions and answers that I heard.

Black Hills Film Festival

Black Hills Film Festival

There was an emcee present, who fielded the questions from the audience to the filmmakers and as they wrapped up their Q&A session, he thanked everyone and announced a short break before the next film would begin.
As Ashley and I settled into our seats, I noticed one striking observation: the entire audience, except myself and my friend, seemed to all be retirees. Everyone looked to be 65 years or older and, I believe, Caucasian. I made an offhand comment about this and then settled in to wait for the feature film that afternoon to begin.
“She Sings to the Stars” is the story of three people coming together in the desert. A magician, traveling to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, whose car breaks down. An older woman, named Mabel, who lives in a rough house in the desert with her dog and Kachina dolls, and Mabel’s grandson who works in a gas station but wants to go to Hollywood and find work in the entertainment industry.
The magician, who isn’t named in the film, is traveling with his pet bunny. When he runs out of coolant, he encounters the gas station attendant and tricks him into giving him twenty dollars of gas. But when he asks for coolant or even water, the younger man explains that there is no water in these parts. That everything has “dried up.”
The magician continues on his way, finally breaking down outside Mabel’s home. She gives him a glass of water, but no more as water is truly precious in this climate. When his bunny goes into hiding in her home, the magician finds himself stuck at Mabel’s.
The grandson eventually comes, bringing with him some much-needed water (although not enough for the radiator) and intending to take some Kachina dolls from grandmother, presumably to sell to tourists. When he sees the magician who owes him money, he becomes agitated and eventually is bitten by a rattlesnake.
Ultimately the film is about the different types of magic that each character believes in and their close-mindedness to believe in the others’ version of magic. The magician doesn’t understand the prayers and songs that Mabel sings, quite literally to the stars. Nor does Mabel understand the magic of song and dance that her grandson (who is half Native and half Mexican) aspires to.
But I wanted to write today about a different kind of magic – the magic of art itself. The reason that I was so looking forward to attending the Black Hills Film Festival was to be in a community of artists. It’s the same reason why I live where I do – I moved here nearly twelve years ago in search of just such a tribe to call my own.
I’m a little bummed, frankly. Why does it seem like one of the most creative and artistic communities in the country isn’t particularly inclusive? Why are the only people attending the region’s film festival all older and, as far as I was able to see, white? After all, the Black Hills Film Festival is supposed to be celebrating our region and especially our Native American cultural experience. Why is the film festival held during the day, when most people are working or in school? Why is a full festival pass $50?
Art isn’t supposed to be a privileged experience. Art is for the masses. Art shouldn’t be controlled or doled out as a reward, or out of reach. The experience of art – not necessarily the ownership of it – should be accessible and appreciable to all within at least a particular community. But here in Rapid City, I fear that elitism has suppressed the appreciation of art for those who probably need it in their lives the most.
We have some lovely places here in the Black Hills where you can experience artistic works. We have places where you can listen to music, watch dancers, admire photographs and paintings and sculpture. But if the only people you’re with when you’re doing that are your peers, you’re missing something from experience. If everyone in attendance can afford a fifty dollar ticket (not just that they pay for it, but that they easily can) how many different perspectives are you going to get? And how much pleasure and meaning will you experience?
When Art Alley first sprang up in downtown Rapid City, I think many of us thought this was an opportunity to bring disparate groups of people together for the sake of art. Tag artists and entrepreneurs and tourists and fine art majors all could, in theory, converge upon the alley to paint or photograph or just to stroll and enjoy. But Art Alley has become a pissing match. Either it’s open to everybody, or it’s not, and right now it’s not. I give a lot of credit to the folks who began this project, and I think there’s still an opportunity to open the alley to more freedom of expression. But without that freedom, that change, Art Alley is just another backdrop.
I hope that the Black Hills Film Festival changes, over the next few years. Continue to focus on culling great film and bringing those filmmakers to our region, but find a way to get our citizens invested and involved. They did make one improvement in recent years, by expanding the locations into Rapid City (previously it was just based in Hill City) but let’s make sure the attendees having the greatest time are those who most need an infusion of art and cinema and storytelling and possibility in their lives.

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