Conference Schedule

Thursday, September 28, 2017


7:30pm (Mountain Time)     

Chadron State College Student Center

"Nebraska Before Nebraska: Our Pawnee Homeland"

2017 Pilster Lecturer, Walter Echo Hawk (Pawnee)

Introduction: Kent Blansett, University of Nebraska-Omaha

The lecture is FREE!  The lecture will be followed by audience questions, refreshments and book signings. Books will be available for purchase at the lecture.


Friday, September 29, 2017

8:30 am (Mountain Time) 

Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center Chicoine Atrium








"Poetry From the Plains"

Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen will read selections from her poetry and discuss how the landscape of the Great Plains has inspired, influenced and shaped her writing. Her poetry follows in the footsteps of earlier Plains writers, using a sense of place to make connections between the natural and human worlds, the land and all its inhabitants–the ordinary, extraordinary food for poetry and stories about the human experience on the Plains and beyond.

Speaker: Twyla Hansen, Nebraska State Poet

Session Introduction: Steve Coughlin, Chadron State College




"150 Years of Botanical Exploration in the Great American Desert"

Telling the stories of the people who uncovered our knowledge of the Nebraska flora, beginning with statehood.

Speaker: Steve Rolfsmeier, Curator, CSC Herbarium

Session Introduction: Teresa Frink, Professor of Rangeland Management, Chadron State College




2017 Sandoz Scholar Lecture

"Mother's Joy: Early 20th Century Technological Innovations on the Great Plains" 

Technological innovations in the early twentieth century helped to forge a new family dynamic that provided opportunities for women of the Great Plains to explore art, literature and music. Not only were these innovations instrumental in providing avenues for cultural exploration that had otherwise been marginalized in the daily life of women and their families, their introduction in the rural homes of the Great Plains were representative of a national, cultural shift from a nascent to modern lifestyle. Some of these technological innovations were critical to augmenting women’s labor in the rural home, providing her and the family with increased time for cultural and social pursuits. While scholarship has been devoted to the impact of technological innovations in the home such as electricity, modern appliances or implements on the daily life and labors of rural women in the early twentieth century, Edison’s phonograph has been somewhat undervalued. Mari Sandoz’s posthumous work, "The Christmas of the Phonograph Records, A Recollection", perhaps has also been underestimated as it provides a strong illustration of the impact of Edison’s musical innovation on a rural home in early twentieth century America—and furthermore is representative of how an innovation was capable of changing the rural household dynamic. This research will explore the impact of the phonograph on the American pastoral family in the first decade of the twentieth century, and provide a critical review of Sandoz’s work as the theme.The aim of this research, in addition to promoting historical and cultural awareness of the impact of the phonograph on the rural family dynamic, is to stimulate scholarship and recognize a lessor known work of Mari Sandoz, "The Christmas of the Phonograph Records, A Recollection" Mother’s Joy, as a digital outlet, provides an opportunity in how to display Mari Sandoz research expressed in new media formats. This digital publication collectively promotes, materializes and inspires Mari Sandoz research from both civic and educational perspectives and further, advocates the directives of the Mari Sandoz Society and High Plains Heritage Center.

Speaker: Robert Roy Foresman, PhD Graduate Assistant, North Dakota State University

Session Introduction: Holly Boomer, Vice-President for Instruction, Colorado Northwestern Community College


NOON-1:30pm    LUNCHEON     

Chadron State College Student Center

Presentation of the 2017 In the Spirit of Mari Sandoz Award, Announcement of the 2018 Sandoz Scholar, & Lively Table Networking and Conversation


Return to the Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center Chicoine Atrium following the luncheon




1:30pm   INTRODUCTION "Mari Sandoz and Her 1956 Fifty-year Predictions"

This presentation is devoted to the subject of the 1957 and 2017 Time Capsules. "Mari Sandoz and Her 1956 Fifty-Year Predictions" is composed of two brief parts. The first places the writing of her essay in the context of her life in New York City.  From 1953-1957, Sandoz was at the height of her writing productivity, publishing four books and preparing for publication of two other books. She was also experiencing significant life challenges. At this time, she learned she had breast cancer; lost two very close friends, Louise Pound and Don Hollenbeck; and lived through a devastating fire in her apartment. The second covers seven specific predictions she made. Some are far-reaching; others have already happened by 2007. They include ideas about the environment, water, travel, life and labor, the "Century of the Mind," advancements of art, and diplomatic relations. Sandoz's predictions joined those of 57 other prominent and not-so-famous prognosticators.

Speaker: John R. Wunder

Session Introduction: Elaine Nelson, University of Nebraska-Omaha


2:00pm   TIME CAPSULE CONTENTS "2057 Predictions: Audience Thoughts and Excerpts from the Time Capsule"

Audience members will be asked to make their own predictions for the future and will hear some excerpts from predictions sealed in the time capsule.

Speaker: Deb Carpenter-Nolting


2:15pm   PANEL DISCUSSION "Welcome to the Land of Time"

Panelists will discuss questions such as "How has our concept of time changed since Mari's time?" and "How do different cultures mark the passage of time?"

Moderators: Deb Carpenter-Nolting and Craig Larson

Panelists: Martin Gilmore, Jovan Mays, Donette Lone Hill, Mercedes Iron Cloud, David Nesheim


3:00pm  WRITING WORKSHOP "It's About Time"

Nationally recognized poet Jovan Mays will explore the concept of time and, using audience predictions, assist them in forming short written pieces.

Presenter:  Jovan Mays





This event is FREE and open to the public. The time capsule will be buried near the statue of Mari in front of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center. 

Participants:  Becky Herian, Nebraska 150 Committee; Martin Gilmore, singer and songwriter; Jovan Mays, writer; Donette Lone Hill and Mercedes Iron Cloud, Native prayer; Ron Hull, remarks; all conference attendees






Saturday, September 30, 2017


The Bean Broker, Downtown Chadron

202 W. 2nd Street



"Getting in Touch With Mari Sandoz" an illustrated lecture by British historian and novelist Alan Wilkinson

This illustrated, two-part talk, built around Wilkinson's observations during a six-month retreat in the Sandhills in 2011. In the hope that he might encourage others to venture into the wild country, he will pose the question, ‘What can we learn today about the impact of the Sandhills environment on Mari Sandoz’ writing? In Part 1 Wilkinson will refer to Mari’s own life and work, and talk about the ways in which he attempted to share her pioneer experiences, with particular reference to:

  • The isolation
  • The sound of silence
  • The company of animals
  • The Great Plains weather
  • A sea of grass
  • The big sky
  • A sense of history
  • A sense of place

In Part 2 he will talk about my early attempts to navigate the Old Jules Trail. Generally, getting lost – which is why he evolved a new, improved, online guide.

Speaker: Alan Wilkinson

Introduction: Matthew Evertson, Chadron State College