Skip to main content

2023 Pilster Great Plains Lecture & Sandoz Symposium

"Mari Sandoz’s Homeland Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: A High Plains Symposium"

September 28-30, 2023 in Chadron, NE


Please note, registration is only required for the Friday symposium. The Pilster Great Plains Lecture on Thursday evening is FREE and open to the public as is the Saturday morning event at the Bean Broker in downtown Chadron.

This year's event will take place on the campus of Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska with sessions in the Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center and the CSC Student Center Ballroom. Off-campus activities will take place at the Bean Broker in downtown Chadron and other locations TBA.

Mari Sandoz, 1896-1966, is celebrated for her histories of the Native Americans and homesteaders living on the High Plains. While Ms. Sandoz lived and wrote in Lincoln, Denver and New York City, the subject comprising the bulk of her work was the place and the people of the High Plains where she had been born and raised, where she centered her research and gained insights into the events and personalities that populate her histories. This event will look at the High Plains and its natural and human history in hopes to create increased interest in looking more deeply into this history and attendees own local or regional stories both individually and in group settings.

The annual Pilster Great Plains Lecture will be presented by Dr. Andrew Graybill, Professor and Director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

The Mari Sandoz Symposium will include presentations and panel discussions as well as a luncheon, Friday afternoon activities and a coffee and conversation send-off on Saturday morning in downtown Chadron at the Bean Broker--

  • Preservation of Native American Culture and History Today with Donovin Sprague of Sheridan, WY
  • Panel session: Preserving Local History in Sandoz Country Panel Discussion moderated by Broc Anderson of the Buffalo County Historical Society/Trails & Rails Museum in Kearney, with Christine Ambrose of Chadron, NE, Phyllis Krotz of Rushville, NE, and Harlan Wheeler of Gordon, NE
  • Panel session: High Plains Writers/Writing moderated by Renee Laegreid, Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming, with faculty from the Chadron State College English Department including Dr. Mary Clai Jones, Markus Jones, and Dr. Matt Evertson
  • The Symposium Luncheon will feature Tony Malmberg of Union, OR, author of the book Green Grass in the Spring: A Cowboy's Guide to Saving the World
  • Panel Session: The High Plains: Climate, Flora and Fauna, Past, Present, Future with faculty from Chadron State College including Dr. Michael Leite who will talk about the High Plains Climate, Land and Water; Steve Rolfsmeier who will talk about High Plains Flora; and Dr. Teresa Frink who will talk about High Plains Mammals
  • Friday afternoon tour of Chadron State College Herbarium (tentative) with Steve Rolfsmeier OR hiking at Chadron State Park (tentative)
  • Send-off conversation on Saturday morning at the Bean Broker in downtown Chadron with discussion led by Tony Malmberg of Union, OR