NEWS & EVENTS
The Great Plains Experience
June 6-11, 2010
The rich Minnesota River valley meanders through long, drawn prairie lands once celebrated by writers such as Ole Rolvaag, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Frederick Manfred. We'll head to the eastern edge of the Great Plains-southwest Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.
In June of 2010, we'll go up north and visit sprawling wind farms, high quality native prairie remnants, and sacred places where you can still see ancient drawings left by long-departed peoples.
In 1862, the Dakota people, starving and poor, attacked white settlers in a month-long rampage that ended with the largest mass execution in American history, an event that would have been immeasurably larger had Abraham Lincoln himself not intervened. It marked the beginning of the Great Sioux Wars.
The 1862 Sioux Uprising is only one unforgettable story from this gorgeous green land. You'll hear folks who have lived there for years tell about changes that have impacted their rural communities, agriculture, churches, and schools. It'll be another Great Plains Experience: Prairie's Edge.
Each day will include group devotional time and faculty-led commentary on the places we visit. There will be several opportunities to discuss our experiences as a group and reflect jointly on what we've learned.
Some activities require moderate hiking of more than one mile.
Cost Per Person
$850 double room occupancy/$950 single room occupancy.All your lodging has been reserved for you and is included in your fees. Also included are all meals except one "lunch on your own" in New Ulm, Minnesota.
Registration remains open until the tour is full.
Dr. James C. Schaap: Writer/storyteller/professor, Dordt English Dept.
Dr. Robb De Haan: Professor, Dordt Environmental Studies Dept.
Dianne De Wit: Dordt College Advancement Office
West Hall on the campus of Dordt College features two single beds and a private bath.
The Holiday Inn, New Ulm, Minnesota
The Buffalo Ridge Resort, Gary, South Dakota
Sunday, June 6
Arrive at Dordt College mid afternoon and settle into West Hall. We'll have introductions at 5 p.m., share a meal, and do some orientation.
Monday, June 7
We'll leave by motor coach to Minnesota where we get a first-hand look at wind turbines, including visits with local farmers. We'll be treated to dinner at the Leota Christian Reformed Church where local folks will share their stories about the challenges and blessings of living in a small, rural community. We'll then drive back to Dordt and spend the second night in West Hall.
Tuesday, June 8
We'll pack up and be off to New Ulm, Minnesota, where we plan to visit a Minnesota farmer, the Jeffers Petroglyphs, and Birch Coulee to hear the story of the 1862 Sioux Uprising. There will be opportunity to learn about prairie plants and animals, take a few hikes, and drive through Walnut Grove, the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We'll spend two nights in the heart of the Minnesota River Valley, New Ulm, Minnesota, staying at the Holiday Inn. This town has rich a German heritage, so be prepared to enjoy German food and traditions.
Wednesday, June 9
We'll learn more about the 1862 Sioux Uprising, do some hiking, visit the local brewery, and have time to explore New Ulm on your own. We'll be back at the Holiday Inn for dinner and an evening with plenty of German flavor!
Thursday, June 10
We'll head west, reflecting on how small communities have changed. We'll discuss the 1980's Farm Crisis with a visit to Ruthton, Minnesota, where a farmer shot and killed his banker. We'll venture into eastern South Dakota and visit small communities like Esteline and Castlewood, the home of author, Ole Rolvaag. Dinner will be served by members of the Volga Christian Reformed Church, where the locals will tell how they've weathered the changes over the past decades. We'll spend the night in Gary, South Dakota, at the new Buffalo Ridge Resort, formerly the 100 year old South Dakota School for the Blind.
Friday, June 11
Possible stops include Palisades State Park with its unusual quartzite formations and the spot where Jesse James allegedly made a spectacular escape from the law, a stop at Frederick Manfred's home in Blue Mounds State Park, and a tour of a buffalo ranch. Our Friday night meal will be at the Worthington Christian Reformed Church. This multicultural church will serve us a variety of ethnic foods and tell us how this small town congregation came to be a "home for all nations." We will drive an hour back to Dordt College where we'll have our closing talk and stay again in West Hall.
Saturday, June 12
Check out of West Hall by noon.