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South Dakota

  • By: Justin Corfield
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Native American tribes lived in the region that is now South Dakota for thousands of years before 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase resulted in the region becoming part of the United States. Many of the Sioux continued to live in the region. In 1861, the Dakota Territory was established, and South Dakota gained statehood on November 2, 1889. Currently, more than a fifth of the population is of German descent, and an eighth is of Scandinavian descent.

Strongly identified in the public mind with the “Wild West,” it was where Calamity Jane (Martha Cannary) lived for much of her life, part of that time associated with “Wild Bill” Hickok. Jane represented the public image of the pioneering woman, but for most of the early settlers, bringing ...

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