Art in Unusual Places

By Tim Hoheisel, HMA Cultural

Art is all around us, all day every day.  Our worlds are saturated with art and that is a pretty great thing.  Some examples: the bed you sleep on was created by a designer, the sheets are textile art.  The appliances in your home, and your house itself, were designed to be aesthetically pleasing not just utilitarian.  If you drive to work in a car, it, too, was created with the help of artists.  You probably drive by sculptures on the street going to your job.  You probably have photos and art in your office. Do you listen to the radio on your way to work?  Music is one of the arts.  If you work on a computer, many artists were involved in its creation.  You get the point.  Interacting with art in our daily lives is as common to us as breathing.  I don’t think we comprehend that often enough but we should start to.

Here in the upper Midwest we have four distinct seasons.  In the middle of winter, the landscape is covered in a blanket of snow and the lakes are frozen over.  I grew up near Mille Lacs Lake.  In the winter there are probably more fish houses on the ice than there are regular houses in the town in which we lived.  Shanties, another term for them, are made to be used for fishing on the ice and allow people to stay warm and out of the elements.  They are utilitarian, built for function, not necessarily to be comfortable.  Some people do make the interiors of their fish houses pretty extravagant, though. I've been in shanties with stoves, beds, kitchenettes, and even one with a wine bar.  Ice fishing is big business in Minnesota.  When we have a warm winter, it negatively affects the local economy. 

Fish houses on Mille Lacs Lake.  Must be early in the season because there aren't very many on the ice yet. 

Fish houses on Mille Lacs Lake.  Must be early in the season because there aren't very many on the ice yet. 

Those of you who are from the upper Midwest don’t need an introduction to what ice shanties are.  To people in other places in the country, they are as out of place as a surf board would be on a lake in Minnesota in summer.  Fishing on the ice in winter is a long Minnesota tradition.  An ongoing project on the ice on White Bear Lake has turned that sporting tradition into an annual art exhibition.

The Art Shanties Project

What may seem like an unusual place for art for most of the rest of the country, the surface of a frozen lake, becomes a winter art show every February in a Twin Cities suburb. The non-profit group Art Shanty Projects based in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, takes ordinary ice fish houses and makes art installations out of them.  This year there are nineteen artists who have been juried into the show.  The point of these structures has little to do with fishing.

A sampling of some of the art shanties. The interiors are where a lot of the art is located, because winter. 

A sampling of some of the art shanties. The interiors are where a lot of the art is located, because winter. 

From the project's website, “For 10 years, Art Shanty Projects has organized a month-long festival on a frozen lake surface into an interactive, artist-driven temporary community that expands notions of art and artist. The 2016 On-Ice Program will take place on White Bear Lake every weekend during February 2016. Exploration of artist designed and built shanties and performance events are free and open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-4pm.”

I haven’t yet been to the 2016 exhibition but I took in the art on ice in 2014.  It was a spectacular arrangement of unique art inside the shanties and outside on the ice.  There was music, dancing, and several large bears constructed from chicken wire and tissue paper and plastic covering bicycles and wagons.  The first thing that came to mind when I saw those for the first time were Theo Jensen’s Strandbeests, though these were people-propelled. 


I don’t know what the creators had in mind when creating this project.  I can surmise that it was to bring art to an otherwise commonplace location and with ordinary objects, at least for Minnesota.  The vision that I have in my head of this project is that it will continue to grow and get more popular.  It is clearly nowhere near the size of Burning Man, but that is what I pictured when I visited.  A giant Ice Man made from blocks of ice from the lake.  People celebrating art and winter, reveling on the ice as people do in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for Burning Man.  The Art Shanties Project would conclude with the melting of the Ice Man, or something.  Maybe that is just my imagination, but Burning Man started small too!

Whatever the future holds for the Art Shanty Project, it has my attention and it should have yours, too.  If you haven’t yet been there, you have two more weekends to go and check it out for yourself.  The Art Shanty Project is the only one of its kind that I am aware of.  It only comes around once a year and I highly recommend making the journey to White Bear Lake to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.


AstroLounge (Artists:: Patrick Erbe, Shannon Fletcher, Hanna Kjeldbjerg, Grace Lansing, Rachel Mogck, Rebecca Mogck, Airin Murphy, V.S. Ramstack, Kellie Reichert, Tim Schumacher, Ramy Selim, Trevor Simmons, and Ben Pecholt) Local artist collective Err and Sunny Day Earth Solutions present the AstroLounge. Terrestrial sky-gazers and cosmic trailblazers are welcomed into the cozy comfort of this shanty's lounge-inspired interior. Visitors can deepen their knowledge and indulge their curiosity relating to outer space and its many complexities through an array of perspectives ranging from the astrological to the astronautic.

Aurora Shanty (Artists :: Alan Palazzolo, Leah Puffer, Kristen Murray and Rox Johnson) Bringing the magic of the night scky and wonder of the aurora borealis to what is mostly a daytime event, this solar-powered shanty will delight all with a data-driven, interactive light show.

Botanical ShanTea (Artists:: Libby London, Emma Schroeder, Aaron Fitch, Lars Hansen, and Brian Hedburg) A permaculture-inspired tea garden and site for learning about, viewing, and tasting the abundance of Minnesota plants here in our cold climate. This shanty invites guests to walk through a frozen garden of native plants before joining the group inside to taste the abundance of the season.

Boiler Room Shanty (Artist:: Clara Schiller and Amelia Foster) This shanty is designed to give visitors an external and internal peek at the rarely accessible space of a municipal boiler room. A custodian in uniform presents each guest with an official “Authorized Visitor” sticker inviting entrance to a room full of enigmatic boiler features: concrete floor, painted yellow lines, industrial signs, chain link fence, hanging light bulbs, dials, switches, breaker boxes, and pipes made of steel, copper and PVC.

The “Box” Studio (Artist:: Adam Jarvi) This shanty is a roving retreat for professional and aspiring artists to consider and contemplate the wintry milieu. People inspired by the lake and landscape—color, light, moods, and sights—of a Minnesota winter are invited to practice their craft while visitors mingle with artists-in-residence at work and in the field.

Catch Your Limit (Artists:: Rose Shetka, Martha Megarry, Peter Quinlan, Lori Quinlan, and David Megarry) This shanty takes inspiration from a 1960’s family ice fishing trip to Lake Mille Lacs. The shanty memoir includes a 2D comic strip inside a 3D re-creation of the original mid-century fish house in a comic book style. Visitors are invited to play along and participate with interactive activities and displays that include a set of bunk beds and cartoonish, child-safe, angling paraphernalia.

Chef Shanty (Artist:: Jeremy Bue) This shanty, inspired by cooking and craft, brings the love of art and food together in one inspired space. Visitors will engage with various fun and educational food connected projects and presentations by a wide group of culinary artists, visual artists, and food inspired folks.

Dance Shanty (Artists:: John Pederson, John Each, Brady Clark, Bethany Hall, Jake Ryan, and Mike Rassmusen) This shanty invites visitors to shed woolen layers and generate heat by scratching their dancing itch. This year's focus on a “forever young” mentality will feature music from all eras and times to connect the generations through dance and movement from a crew that encourages and embraces all forms of dance expression.

Data Lab Shanty (Artists:: Marieka Heinlen, Angela Maki North, Sarah Honeywell, Aaron Prust, Jason Burnanen, Laura Breshears, and Pader Fang) Using visual communication as a medium, this shanty seeks to build content from crowd-sourcing on-ice visitors. An on-ice exploration of quantitative and qualitative information gathering through surveys questionnaires and focus groups. Info-exhibits created by the artists enhance the visitor’s ability to visually absorb patterns in data.

Matoska Tonka Pedal Bears (Artists:: Allen Christian, Janet Groenert, Maryanna Harstad, Morgan L’Argent, Mary Jane LaVigne, Mina Leierwood, Jim Muellner, Richard Parnell, and Peter Schulze) The 20 foot long, 12 foot high, pedal-driven puppet and its 8 foot long, 5 foot tall bear cub will highlight language and legends. Participants will be challenged with a Dakota language word hunt, and visitors to the warming house can hear stories of Matoska Tonka (big white bear) and learn more about myths of the White Bear Lake moniker.

My Home is Minnesota (Artists:: Julie Strand and Britt Udesen) This shanty is a collaborative effort between a poet and printmaker focusing on an exploration of voices that occupy the internal environment and exist within a given community. Visitors will encounter and create definitions of home and Minnesota that respond to the natural elements of places as well as human interruptions in romantic landscapes.

Ouijatotter Shanty (Artists:: Paul Owen, Jeff Berg, and Derek Ahlberg) This shanty encourages lighthearted fun and interaction with other spectators. As visitors approach, they will be visually attracted to the fun-house circus exterior, and drawn in by the barking Ringleader spinning his enticing solicitation of the spectacle to be ridden and mystery inside. Willing participants ask a question they are yearning to know the answer to, and then jump on the Ouijatotter to solicit the answer. It teeter- totters when several pairs of participants work together to answer questions posed.

Peace Train Shanty (Artists:: Dave Greenlund, Pam Schweitzer, Dan Mackerman, and Peg Cavanaugh) This shanty is a place of printmaking where people of every age and physical or artistic ability can express their thoughts on creating peace. When visitors enter, an artist will assist them in crafting a roll of tickets to travel on a personal journey towards peace. 

Performance HexaYurt (Artists:: Ephraim Eusebio and Rachel Schwartz) A traditional yurt provides a home for untraditional presentations. Check out the newsletter insert for a schedule of this year's rotating cast of performers each weekend.  

Shanti Shanty (Artists:: Yadin Dickstein and Sophie Vranian) From afar, this yurt on wheels is a dot of color in the white of snow and ice; from up close an icon of spiritual technology, ancient symbolism, and our place in the changing environment. Visitors outside can spin the shanty like a Tibetan prayer wheel, taking time to reflect on the symbolism of circum-ambulation: compassion, prayer, dharma, or perhaps just the winter sun. Decorate your own prayer flag to add to the Prayer Flag Fence and partake with various scheduled rituals such as smudging, kirtan, meditation, sound bathing, and a Jewish Tent Blessing.

Slumber Party Shanty (Artists:: Anthony Chapin, Erin Lavelle, Tami Traeger, Phillip O'Toole, Tim Harlan-Marks, Sarah Chapman, Alex Eninsche, Allison Osberg, Ryan Weber, and Thomas Menke) A giant enclosed bed on ice where guests of all ages attend slumber party up top after a visit with the monster underneath. Visitors enter the shanty through a secret passage and make their way through the dark corners under the bed. An opportunity to don costumes of choice is presented before guest’s head up to the slumber party to meet the host and play games with other attendees.

Sound + Vision (XXX) (Artists:: Julie Benda, Kelsey Bosch, Kathryn Miller) A collaborative project that endeavors to negotiate the mystery, femininity and physicality of frozen lakes. From a point near the geographical center of the water, this shanty invites visitors to explore how our senses of sound and vision inform our feeling of place.

Under the Lake / Sonic Shanty (Artists:: Rebecca and Jonathan Loyche) An interactive installation that allows visitors to hear what is going on under the ice and how their presence effects the lake on a sonic level. Audience members are also invited to subtly play the frozen lake as an instrument inside this sound chamber shanty.

The Shanty of Joy & Necessity (Artist:: David Pitman, 2014) In the center of the artist-driven temporary community is the gathering point for artists, performers, and audiences to warm their hands and hearts as they learn more about Art Shanty Projects from the more than 60 volunteers and contracted staff who give life to this uniquely Minnesotan festival each year. 


ArtCar / ArtBike Parade on Ice (Artists:: ArtCars / ArtBikes of Minnesota) Driving across the ice is a challenging idea to many but each year the world’s only ArtCar / ArtBike Parade on Ice happens right here in Minnesota. ArtCars will also be available for anyone wanting transport back to shore. 

Closer Body Cartography (Artists:: Olive Bieringa, Otto Ramstad, Anna Marie Shogren, Justin Jones, Dolo McComb,and Kimberly Lesik) Bare the power of physicality and presence through a series of dance performances. One dancer and one audience member work together on the ice to play with how the meeting between performer and participant generates possibility.

Cold War/m Up (Artists:: Anna Abhau Elliott and  Desiree Moore) A scavenger hunt involving codes, clues, and Ovaltine decoder rings will pepper the landscape with surprises while performers attempt to knit an infinite scarf. Artists fascinated by found environments look for ways to interact with outdoor spaces and pay homage to the landscape.

Downrange Telemetrics (Artists:: Becca Barniskis and Nick Jaffe) A Twin Cities-based poet/performer/singer and veteran Chicago soul, hip-hop, post-rock, experimental guitarist collaborate to launch a mobile unit on White Bear Lake with a series of outdoor, interactive musical performances.

The Energetic Flower Stand (Artist:: Jess Hirsch) Take a walk with a flower bouquet to treat emotional states.

Fire and Ice: A Winter Flamenco Odyssey (Artists :: Deborah Elias, Danza Española with the Coro Flamenco Street Choir) In a juxtaposition of Southern Spain and Minnesota, this combination flamenco procession, performance, and sing along will heat up the ice with energy and festivity. The Coro Flamenco Street Choir will process around the shanties and ultimately gather around the bonfire to sing and dance to traditional flamenco songs. Visitors are invited to join the procession and/or meet up at the bonfire to join in the fun by doing palmas (rhythmic hand clapping), playing rhythm instruments, and singing along.

Inward Music on Ice (Artist:: Sarah Stengle) Inward Music on Ice is a sculptural tableaux of ordinary chairs mounted on vintage wooden skis. Participants can play small sculptural harps based on the Finnish kantele using the warm mitten/picks provided.

Lady Bear the Polar Bear Puppet (Artist:: Kimberly Ford) Originally crafted to promote the arts in White Bear Lake, the full scale White Bear will charm children and delight audiences with her roaring, dancing, posing and walking as performance art for engaging audiences of all ages and abilities.

Lady in Red (Vixen) (Artist:: Erin Drummond) A game for the young and young at heart and a mystery for the wise, this performance invites playfulness while embodying the flame of wildness that lives on the edges—and through the fibers—of society.

Poems (Artist:: Theo Langason) The best poems are more than just words on a page; they live and breathe. Join this performer to create original poetry on the spot.

Prairie Fire Lady Choir (Artists:: Prairie Fire Lady Choir) This rockin' group of more than 60 singers brings a  "Fire on Ice" concert providing beautiful harmonies and raucous joy to draw in visitors from across the frozen lake.

Quick Paint from Outdoor Painters of Minnesota (Artists:: Allison Eklund, Alice Cho, Barb Casey, Bruce Young, Cheryl LeClare, Greg Lecker,  Kathy Liuri, Melissa Moe, Michelle Wagner, Patty Schwartz, Rich Myers, Sallie Malmstrom and Tom Dimock) Landscape "plein air" painters populate festivities to paint the scene, people, and activities during the event. Visitors will enjoy watching artists create while interacting to learn about old methods of portraying new and contemporary themes, outdoor painter inspiration, and challenges both logistic and artistic.

Shanty Bike (Artist:: Ben Weaver) An ongoing fat bike/winter bike ride offering musical performance and poetry reading around the lake and within the shanty community where audiences will learn about winter, weather, water, local history,  and ecology. 

Shanty Show Booth (Artists:: Riley Kane, Mike Haeg, and Tammy Dahlke) Similar to a Fortune Teller Booth, this simulated pay-per-performance entertainment spectacle invites visitors to 'pay' with a free token to observe one of a variety of acts, including: Riley n' Salty 'reverse ventriloquism', Mediocre Celebrity Impressions, The Great Tamerelda Taro Readings, or Pay-Per-Mime.

Snow Car Parking Lot (Artist:: Michael Gaughan) Join artist Michael Gaughan in his original blend of visual art, performance art, absurdity, and mystery as he creates a sculptural reproduction of a car out of snow.

Sparkle Parade (Artists :: Danielle Cezanne, White Bear Center for the Arts) The Sparkle Parade will kick off the 2016 On-Ice Program. Audience members are encouraged to join in the fun as pedal bears, dog sleds and people sleds parade around the Shanty Village to celebrate community through the arts.

Water Bar (Artist:: Andrew Jansen) A mobile watering hole with self-serving containers filled with water from regional spring sources. 

Entering the Art Shanties Project.  The Lifeguard is NOT on duty.

Entering the Art Shanties Project.  The Lifeguard is NOT on duty.

People examine merchandise for sale at the Ice Ice Maybe shanty.  The lady behind the counter explained it thusly, "Welcome to Ice Ice Maybe, a faux shopping experience.  If you see something of intrinsic value to your person you may ask us about it and we will explain the process for purchasing it." Unfortunately, I did not find anything of intrinsic value to my person. 

People examine merchandise for sale at the Ice Ice Maybe shanty.  The lady behind the counter explained it thusly, "Welcome to Ice Ice Maybe, a faux shopping experience.  If you see something of intrinsic value to your person you may ask us about it and we will explain the process for purchasing it." Unfortunately, I did not find anything of intrinsic value to my person. 

Art cars on parade.

Art cars on parade.

A good time is had by all at the Art Shanty Projects!

A good time is had by all at the Art Shanty Projects!


The Revenant and Real History

Author: Tim Hoheisel, HMA Cultural

I had some spare time this week so I went to see the movie the Revenant. I knew what I was getting into, and it was pretty much what I expected—a little history and a lot of blood and carnage. Many people unfortunately think when they see a historical fiction movie they assume that it is historically accurate and they might learn something. The movie is advertised as being “inspired by true events.” That is a fitting description, and your first hint that it is not real history. There was a person named Hugh Glass and he was attacked by a bear. The movie makes many “creative” departures from the real story.


The Revenant apparently is a pretty big deal at the box office right now. Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated for some awards or something and it’s making Hollywood executives millions of dollars. People are writing all kinds of reviews about the movie online so I thought I’d chime in, too. As a professional historian I am happy to see history make the leap to the big screen. But as a historian I am also unhappy that too much fiction gets mixed in with facts leaving viewers unsure about the real story, which is kind of ironic since even as historians we don't know all the facts about Hugh Glass. 

It is well known that Hollywood likes to play fast and loose with facts in historical stories. Stories about revenge with lots of fight scenes and blood sell more tickets though. Hugh Glass was a fur trapper on the Plains in the early 19th century. He did live with the Pawnee for a time but there is no record of him having a Pawnee wife. We do know that he never had a child, with or without said Pawnee wife. Yes, he was attacked by a bear, though there were no eyewitnesses to the event. He did survive and John Fitzgerald and a young Jim Bridger stayed behind to bury him when he died. When Glass didn’t die, Fitzgerald and Bridger did in fact place him in a shallow grave, took his weapons, and left to catch up with the rest of the expedition. The bear attack happened in summer, not winter, and near present-day Lemmon, South Dakota. There are no mountains, or cliffs nearby, as seen in the movie, just the grasslands and the Missouri bluffs. I could go on and on about how the real story differs from the Hollywood version but that is beside the point.

The  Grand River National Grassland , what the landscape would have looked like where Hugh Glass was attacked by a bear. 

The Grand River National Grassland, what the landscape would have looked like where Hugh Glass was attacked by a bear. 

Hugh Glass doesn’t fight it out to the death with Fitzgerald. Viewers are lead to believe that Glass also dies at the end of the movie though we don’t know for sure. Perhaps we are left hanging in case Hollywood feels compelled to make a series of sequels: “Hugh Glass' Revenge Against the Bears,” or something equally trite and nonsensical.

The most significant departure comes at the end of the movie.  The true story about Hugh Glass, from what we know, is a story about forgiveness, not revenge. Glass does eventually find Fitzgerald at Fort Atkinson, Iowa. Fitzgerald had enlisted in the U.S. Army’s Sixth Brigade and had Glass killed Fitzgerald, Glass would have been hung for killing an American soldier. Glass also eventually catches up with Jim Bridger in Montana and forgave Bridger, whom Glass thought young and naïve at the time of the bear attack so Glass spared Bridger as well.

Glass lived for another ten years after the bear attack before he died. He and two companions were reportedly killed in Montana by Arikara Indians. Incidentally, Bridger went on to become one of American history’s most famous mountain men, trappers, and scouts. He became a legend in the “Old West.” Glass, however, remained a nobody, until Hollywood discovered his story. More about Jim Bridger here:

Ultimately, The Revenant takes little from the actual Hugh Glass story for the movie. Why? What are we to make of this? And how does it relate to museums?

We as Americans hold the myth of the “Old West” in high esteem, still, though it always was and is a fabricated myth. The wild west wasn’t that wild. American Indians weren’t bloodthirsty savages. Even gun fights from “Old West” movies didn’t happen nearly as often as they do in the movies. We like the tales of the Old West because they make us feel unique as Americans. Frederick Jackson Turner wrote that the west is where America became America, where we tamed the wilderness and created our own form of democracy. Turner’s misguided frontier thesis has been refuted so many times I don’t need to do it again here. Needless to say, triumphalist Old West stories pump up the mistaken and contrived theory of American Exceptionalism. We are better than everyone else, so the theory holds—tougher, more self-reliant, more heroic, etc. The winners, white Euro- Americans—the good guys—are usually glorified and the losers, Indians, and others who stand in the way of American progress—the bad guys—are disparaged. Same old same old. But it sells movie tickets! 

There are seemingly endless accounts of real historical stories turned into triumphs by Hollywood. One that irks me the most is Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. It is a great example of American Exceptionalism gone haywire. The movie takes a tragic event, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and turns it in to a miraculous victory for the U.S. military when Doolittle’s Raiders bombed Tokyo on April 18, 1942. The Tokyo Raid happens four months after Pearl Harbor yet in the movie viewers might think it happened a few days later. Oh, and don’t forget the love triangle thrown in for good measure. The tragedy of Pearl Harbor is turned into a U.S. victory in the movie though Doolittle’s raid did little damage to Tokyo. It did boost American morale, which was the point all along. The movie reinforces our false sense of American Exceptionalism. 


Museums sometimes, unfortunately fall into the same Hollywood trap—not propping up American Exceptionalism, but treading a fine line between history and entertainment. Usually this is done to attract visitors, and hence revenue. But do museums even need to do it?

There is much in our society competing for peoples’ leisure time and museum people sometimes think that they need to do something extraordinary and more entertaining to be relevant. Attendance at the largest museums in the world is skyrocketing, some to the point that cooling systems can’t keep up with all the people in the building (see my previous blog post here However, that is a small number of museums, the rest are struggling. Some have found that sticking to authenticity is the best way to go, and I agree.

The Missouri History Museum has seen increased visitation by focusing exhibits on local history, not blockbuster shows. Museums can offer something movies can’t—authenticity, REAL history. I can go to a theater and watch a fictional movie about Hugh Glass that contains little history. Sure, it’s entertaining, or at least to some people (personally I thought it was boring and unimaginative). Or, I can go to the museum of the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre and see an actual letter that Hugh Glass wrote.

Above is an original letter from Hugh Glass to the parents of John S. Gardner, killed on June 2, 1823 during the famous Ashley Expedition. It is in the collections of the South Dakota State Archives and currently on display in their Research Room here at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center.

So What? As historians we use our methodology of primary document research to tell a story. We stick to the facts in order to make an interpretation. We try to consciously be as unbiased as possible in writing history. History museums do the same thing except with real artifacts at their disposal they can make history more visual. They still need to stick to facts in order to portray a story to avoid biased pitfalls like American Exceptionalism. Our history is rich enough that we do not need to inflate it for the sake of selling tickets. That is Hollywood’s job.

Watch a movie like the Revenant to be entertained because that is all that it is—entertainment. Don’t assume that you are going to learn something about the Old West, or Pearl Harbor, or the Civil War or whatever the movie is about. To learn something real read a historical monograph or go to a museum. Frankly, I don’t know why a movie like the Revenant couldn’t stick to the accurate story of Hugh Glass. Surviving a bear attack in 1823 and crawling nearly 200 miles across the Plains to safety is a pretty fascinating story. We don’t need to embellish or exaggerate our history for it to be entertaining. The real story will suffice, at least for me.

Hugh Glass memorial, near Lemmon, South Dakota

Hugh Glass memorial, near Lemmon, South Dakota

Museums are more popular than ever

Author: Tim Hoheisel, HMA Cultural

Early in my career, 15 years or so ago, I visited a unique museum in the Twin Cities.  As a new museum professional, I was curious about all the different museums in the area so I took time to go to the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis.  The museum highlighted strange devices that supposedly worked miracles.  Spoiler alert—they did nothing at all.  For example, in the collection is a “psychograph,” which measures the size of bumps on the human head to determine someone’s personality.  In the nineteenth century, the science of “phrenology,” reading those skull bumps allegedly determined character traits like intelligence, spirituality, suavity, and chastity.  In reality, the bumps on a human head have nothing to do with personality, or anything else for that matter. 

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices no longer exists but the collection was acquired by the Science Museum of Minnesota where part of it is on display.  On a recent visit, I saw the collection once again.  I did not remember the “Prostate Gland Warmer,” however, from my first visit.  The rectal probe device, from the early twentieth century, allegedly cured hemorrhoids and constipation as well as an enlarged prostate.  Like the psychograph, the prostate gland warmer did nothing for a person’s health.  I pity the poor men who used it and thought that they were getting some benefit from it. 

The idea of the objects on display and the collection to expose nonsensical medicine, quackery, and pseudo-science while advocating rational and scientific ideas.  As a museum collection I think it is fascinating.  It is part of our collective heritage as a nation.  As ludicrous, and dangerous, as some of the objects were, someone at some point in time thought that they were on the right track medically.  The museum collection, and others like it, serve as guide post in our search for the truth. 

So Many Museums

Until 2014, the number of museums in the United States was assumed to be around 17,000.  That number came from a 1990s museum census.  The number includes general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, art museums, children’s museums, aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Any organization that has a collection and interprets it can be considered a museum.  A zoo contains a collection of animals, etc., they are on display for people to view and their lives and habitat are interpreted through labels and programs—hence, a “museum.” 

A report by the Institute of Museums and Library Services, IMLS, shows that we were way off in our estimation of how many museums actually are in the U.S.  According to the press release from May 2014, there are 35,144 museums in America.  Don’t believe me?  Go here and see for yourself hereThere are more museums in America than there are Starbucks coffee shops and McDonalds restaurants—combined!  I happen to think that that is a very good thing. 

The usual suspects rise to the top when we think of what a great museum is in America: the Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, the Field Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American History, and the Getty Center come to mind. 

The Getty Center , Los Angeles, California

The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

I love museums in general, all kinds, but I like unique museums the most, the ones that people may not even know exist.  On my bucket list is a visit to the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania.  It is known as the MONA, in opposition to the MOMA in New York, and it calls itself an “unmuseum,” a “subversive adult Disneyland.”  That alone makes me want to visit it.

The East Coast has many wonderful museums, but did you know that there is a Museum of Bad Art in Boston?  Or a hair museum in Independence, Missouri, one of many worldwide?  There is a UFO museum and research center in New Mexico, of course, a circus museum, a funeral history museum, and several barbed wire museums in America.  If you can think of it there is probably a museum about it somewhere in the world.  Yes, there is a sex museum, two actually, in New York and in Amsterdam.  There is a spy museum in Washington D.C.  There is museum of toilets in India, a museum toilet seats in San Antonio, and a museum of toilet paper in Madison, Wisconsin, but sadly, it closed in 2000. 

In the Midwest, in addition to the collection of questionable medical devices, there are some other unique local museums.  The Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, sounds like a place I want to visit.  Ever visit the National Mustard Museum in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.  How about the International Vinegar Museum in Roslyn, South Dakota?  There are a number of beer museums in the Midwest, several in Wisconsin, which is not surprising. 

More Popular than Ever

Museums, no matter what their subject or collection, are more popular than ever.  So many people want to go to the top museums in the world that the museums are having to impose visitation restrictions.  According to a New York Times article from July 2014, the most popular museum in the world, the Louvre in Paris, had 9.3 million visitors in 2013.  The British Museum in London had 6.7 million visitors.  The number of visitors to all museums is increasing annually. 

The Sistine Chapel can only hold about 2,000 people at a time and has 20,000 visitors a day.  So many people want to see Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco that the Vatican has to continually upgrade the climate-control systems in the chapel.  Thousands of people a day going through the chapel changes the heat and humidity of the space and can have significant adverse effects on the more than 500 year old artwork.  Museums like the Louvre, Uffizi in Italy, and Hermitage in Russia are having to find new ways to balance preservation with access, which is an age-old issue for museums.  The number of people visiting museums is at an unprecedented level. 

The Museum of Old and New Art , Hobart, Tasmania

Why are people flocking to museums in greater numbers than ever?  Several reasons.  Museums exhibit real artifacts and real art.  In our hyper-digital online world, interacting with a real sculpture, or painting, or historical artifact, is a much more gratifying and moving experience than seeing a tiny photo of it on a cell phone screen.  Anyone can pick up a textbook and can read about Renaissance art, but when you are standing in the Sistine Chapel looking up, nothing can compare to that. 

The next time you take a trip, check out the museums of wherever you are.  You will have a memorable experience.  Likewise, be a tourist in your own town and visit the museums in your own back yard.  You won't be disappointed. 

If you really want to know a place, the place in which you live, you have to dig a little deeper.  The absolute best place to do that is at a museum.   

For further reading, below are clickable links:

The Facebook page of HMA Cultural is an aggregator of recent articles, news, websites, and other material related to museums.  This is the first, and I would argue best, source to go to for joining the conversation about history, museums, and art.

What is a Museum?

Museums…So What?

Masterworks vs. the Masses

There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonalds – combined

The Participatory Museum (book)

Reinventing the Museum (book)

Museum Administration (book)

Future of Museums

AAM Trendswatch 2015 referenced in article above

 Museums, Temples of Delight

Museums matter: what makes our cultural institutions so special?

 Museum TED talks

Weaving Narratives in Museum Galleries

Opening up the Museum: Nina Simon

Building a Museum of Museums on the Web


From the  Museum of Bad Art , Boston, MA.  Yes, such a place really exists.  Sounds like something Portlandia would parody-- Bad Art, Good Walls . 

From the Museum of Bad Art, Boston, MA.  Yes, such a place really exists.  Sounds like something Portlandia would parody--Bad Art, Good Walls

The  Museum of Broken Relationships , Zagreb, Croatia

The Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia

Interpretations of Wounded Knee 2015

Author: Tim Hoheisel, HMA Cultural

Wounded Knee 1890

On December 28, 1890, Miniconjou Chief Spotted Elk (also known as Big Foot) and his band of around 350 Lakota Sioux, 230 of whom were women and children, surrendered to United States troops near Wounded Knee Creek in southern South Dakota.  Fearful for their own safety after Sitting Bull was killed less than two weeks earlier on December 15, Spotted Elk and his people fled the Cheyenne River Reservation and traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to seek shelter with Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud.  

While attempting to disarm the Indians on December 29, a skirmish broke out and the 500 U.S. Army troops surrounding the Lakota, a detachment of the 7th Cavalry Regiment that was at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, began firing at the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa with Hotchkiss guns.  In a matter of minutes more than 150 Lakota were killed.  For several hours after the first barrage, soldiers rode around the area on horses hunting down and killing injured and fleeing Lakota who were seeking shelter from the gunfire.  No one knows the true death toll but some historians put it as high as 300.  The brazen massacre became known as the last “battle” of the Indian wars of the nineteenth century that began with the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, which coincidentally involved Dakota Sioux Indians. 

Oglala Lakota Black Elk was 27 at the time of the Wounded Knee massacre.  He recounted the incident many years later, “I did not know then how much was ended.  When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young.  And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard.  A people’s dream died there.  It was a beautiful dream.”

Today, December 29th, 2015, marks the 125 anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota.  History can be brutal and horrific.  We have many examples of similar massacres and blatant injustices in our history.  We must not forget them, no matter how terrible.  We must remember the victims and the perpetrators.  We must fight our urge to look away and confront our history head on.  As Elie Wiesel said of the Holocaust, “I believe that a person who is indifferent to the suffering of others is complicit in the crime.”  As we look back 125 years today, we must not be complicit.  We must engage the true history of our nation and crimes of our ancestors. 

Ghost dancers on the Great Plains

Ghost dancers on the Great Plains

I have been a historian and museum professional for 20 years.  I have installed dozens of exhibits, conducted dozens of programs, given hundreds of presentations and lectures, and collaborated with many wonderful people and organizations over the years.  Most of the time when we install an exhibit or conduct an event at a museum we move on to the next one when it is completed.  What we do in museums is important.  It holds great educational value.  Children get exposed to history or art in a unique and memorable way.  Patrons see and interact with objects that they can’t see anywhere else.  To have that kind of impact on people makes us feel good.  We get a lot of job satisfaction from doing something unique and special.  It is a fulfilling profession. 

It is rare, though, when something that we do at a museum has a measurably larger effect on participants, our communities, and historical discourse.  When something that we do transcends the ordinary museum experience it is truly special.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen it is more than memorable and worth talking about, even years later.

44th Annual Dakota Conference

I was fortunate to have been the coordinator and curator of one of those rare events.  Well before the event itself, I knew that it had potential to be extraordinary.  In 2011 I had the chance to do something exceptional and I jumped at the opportunity.  I am talking about the 44th Annual Dakota Conference, “Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later,” held April 27 and 28, 2012, and the accompanying art exhibition, “Interpretations of Wounded Knee 1890 and 1973,” which was on display at the Center for Western Studies from March 4 through May 25, 2012. 

As the Director of Outreach and Promotion at the CWS, I had many responsibilities.  Two of those were coordinating art shows in the galleries and coordinating the annual Dakota Conference.  In 2010, I presented a paper at the 42nd Annual Dakota Conference entitled “Interpretations of Wounded Knee.”  It was an examination of the historiography of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation; how scholars and others wrote about and remembered the event.  Soon after that conference was concluded I proposed holding an entire conference dedicated to the 1973 occupation, the 1890 massacre, and American Indian history and culture in general. 

Planning for the 2012 conference began in earnest even before the 2011 conference.  To start, we initially planned the conference to take place a year before the actual 40th anniversary, which occurred in 2013.  Out of respect, we did not want to hold our event at the same time that solemn remembrances were being held at Wounded Knee. 

We knew that this conference had the potential to be controversial.  We didn’t set out to answer any remaining questions that still lingered or try to solve any problems of the respective historical eras.  That would be futile not to mention arrogant.  We simply wanted to provide a platform for discussion and debate.  Some of the issues that precipitated the 1890 massacre were still the same in 1973—and still remained in 2012.  Planning for a conference of this nature required great diplomacy and attention to detail. 

Despite growing awareness of American Indian issues, history, and culture in South Dakota schools, the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation and siege is still overlooked.  Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee remains in print and on college and university syllabi across the state and the nation.  The 1890 Wounded Knee massacre receives more attention in history courses and is more well known than the 1973 event.  Perhaps the 1973 Wounded Knee event is still too recent to be history for some people.  Many of the participants, from both sides, are still living and a sense of animosity between them still exists.  The occupation/siege was a watershed event that spurred a cultural renaissance among many American Indians. 

The conference was organized over two days with 24 total sessions and nearly 90 presenters giving talks on a variety of subjects.  About half of those presenters addressed either the 1890 or the 1973 incidents.  From the outset, the conference drew national attention.  Some of the presenters included: Stew Magnuson, author of The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder; Kevin McKiernan, a reporter inside Wounded Knee in 1973; scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn who presented a paper on dissent in Indian country; Ann Tweedy, a Hamline Law School professor who works with reservations and tribal jurisdiction; and Emil Her Many Horses, a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian who gave a presentation on Ghost Dance artifacts at the Smithsonian.  University of South Dakota professor Elizabeth Castle coordinated a panel session on women in AIM that included Marcella Gilbert and Madonna Thunder Hawk and the women of AIM.  David Gienapp, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the 1970s who helped prosecute some of the cases resulting from the 1973 event presented his perspective as did Joseph Trimbach, who was the FBI Special Agent in charge at Wounded Knee in 1973.  Trimbach coordinated a panel that included Paul DeMain, the publisher of News from Indian Country, and Denise Maloney, the daughter of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.  We also screened four documentary films at the conference including a new film on the life of Dennis Banks and the history of AIM.  Other participants at Wounded Knee 1973 also making presentations at the conference include Senator James Abourezk, AIM co-founders Ojibwe Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks, as well as a special plenary presentation by national AIM activist Oglala Lakota Russell Means. 

Wounded Knee Art

While planning the conference, I had the idea to do a collaborative art show of all new work.  At a conference, participants usually stand behind a podium and read a paper, present some new research, or engage in a panel discussion.  A conference about events like the ones we were going to discuss had limitations.  An art show provided the opportunity to examine the 1890 and 1973 events visually. 

There was a lot of film footage and thousands of photographs from the 1973 occupation, but few photos existed from the 1890 massacre.  Fewer images remain the farther away in time we get from a historical event.  As the curator of the art exhibition I wanted artists to examine either, or both, historical events from the perspective of the present.  An art show about Wounded Knee 1890 and 1973 exhibited in 2012 is a snapshot, an interpretation frozen in time.  If the art show would have been done in 2002 or 2022, the images surely would be different.  The question I was asking was how do we now see the events, 40 years after the occupation and 122 years after the massacre. 

In late summer of 2011, we sent out a call for art to local and regional artists asking them to produce a new piece for the exhibition.  The 1890 massacre remains a prominent event in the history of the Lakota and the 1973 occupation generates a great deal of emotion as well.  We asked artists, Indian and non-Indian alike, for their interpretation of the events.  Coordinating an art exhibition in conjunction with the conference added another level of analysis and understanding.  It also strengthened the interdisciplinary nature of the Dakota Conference. 

The art that we received was indeed powerful.  A total of 22 artists submitted 28 pieces of work for the show.  Curating an art exhibition about Wounded Knee 1973 and 1890 meant we had to walk a fine line between culturally sensitive and controversial subject matter.  There were many images of skeletons, bullet riddled bodies, mass graves, images of death and destruction in the art.  The exhibition was powerful, emotional, raw, compelling, devastating, and sad.  It is not a show that puts a smile on visitors’ faces as they leave but it is a show that they will never forget.  The horror of the 1890 massacre in particular is seen through the years of history by the eyes of artists.  All of the artwork in the exhibition is truly amazing but some artists and individual images merit more description. 

Randall Blaze, an Oglala Lakota from Buffalo Gap, submitted a mixed media piece entitled Phoenix Rising.  The central image of the work is based on one of the oldest images of a thunderbird in the Smithsonian archives.  He writes:

To me it represents the essence of native design and artwork.  In this respect, it symbolizes the continuity of culture in the face of adversity and despair.  I draw inspiration from ancestral designs which address the essence of my existence.  My primal drive is for unity within the orbit of the sun and the moon and stars.  Within my visual journey, I seek to pay homage to my ancestors.  I help record and integrate visual elements of the Lakota tradition into the contemporary mainstream of the world around me.

Randall Blaze,  Phoenix Rising

Randall Blaze, Phoenix Rising

Another moving piece is entitled Medal of Dis-Honor by Oglala Lakota artist Kevin Pouirer.  In his artist statement he writes:

Sickened, saddened, disgusted, angry—as a Lakota person this is how I feel when I think of the U.S. Government when it awarded twenty medals of honor to their soldiers for the wholesale slaughter of my ancestors.  As an artist, I can speak out about this and many more injustices that indigenous peoples from around the world have had happen to them.  My work usually addresses issues surrounding behaviors that people don’t want to deal with: racism, identity, injustices, taking of land, and stealing of culture.  In creating art like this I hope to bring about discussion, education, dialog, and healing.  After all, isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

Medal of Dis-Honor is a carved buffalo horn spoon, inlayed with gold mother of pearl.  The blue is inlayed lapis and the white stars above the medal is inlayed mother of pearl covered with dripping blood—pipestone, the blood of the People. 

Kevin Pouirer,  Medal of Dis-Honor

Kevin Pouirer, Medal of Dis-Honor

One of the most striking images in the show is, I La Lin Kte Lo, an acrylic on canvas diptych by Oglala Lakota artist Gerald Cournoyer that was 12’ wide.  The translation of the title is, “You are leaving now,” and it is part of a song that is sung when someone in the tribe passes. 

I la lin kte lo (You are leaving now; your spirit is leaving)
I la lin kte lo
I la lin kte lo hey hoy
Aka win ga i lu stan pi na (You finished your circle; your life circle)
I la lin kte lo

Cournoyer, an art professor at Oglala Lakota College writes in his statement:

The painting I submitted for the show and the song go together.  Nobody sung for the people who lost their lives that cold day in December 1890.  The ravens that are throughout the painting represent the Medals of Honor given to the U.S. soldiers.  Ravens are a messenger, scavenger, adapter to their environment.  When the Ghost Dancers went into their trance-like state, the raven came to them, giving messages to the people, telling them of coming events, relaying messages from their deceased relatives. The eyes represent the “witness” to what has happened.   There are songs that have been composed specifically for the Ghost Dance that reference the raven communicating messages from deceased relatives.

The large non-figurative expanses of color and form offer the viewer an opportunity to explore the depth of stimulating color.  The use of color in my paintings is similar to the traditional spirituality of family history.  In accordance with Lakota perspective, the repetition of song and prayer brings our people closer to the supernatural beings, which guide us throughout our lives.  In the paintings, I transmit the importance of repetition in my compositions to induce a trance-like state in the viewer, bringing the soul closer to this particular enlightenment. 

As an artist, I strive to bridge the gap between traditional Lakota art and contemporary movements by incorporating traditional symbols in a contemporary fashion.    

Gerald Cournoyer,  I La Lin Kte Lo

Gerald Cournoyer, I La Lin Kte Lo

A mixed-media piece entitled Archive submitted by Ihanktowan Nakota Sioux artist Jerry Fogg (Wanagi Tatanka) is loaded with cultural meaning.  Fogg writes,

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 is shown with the names of the dead and wounded on each side of the piece.  In the center there is a hoop, which is broken, to show the end of a people’s lifestyle and freedom of choice.  Inside the hoop is Spotted Elk (Big Foot) frozen in the winter cold.  Several metal pins representing the 7th Calvary, along with blackened arrowheads, surround the lodge of Spotted Elk, who flew a white flag of truce at the time of the massacre.  On the edge of the hoop is a small pair of moccasins with a hair plume in honor of all the children massacred.  Along the center of this piece are U.S. military pins atop a snake skin representing the women who were running from the gunfire yelling “There’s a snake in the snow we cannot see,” the snake being the U.S. Cavalry soldiers. 

Along the bottom of the frame are thirty-eight 1890 Indian head pennies that I’ve included to honor the Dakota warriors who were hung in Mankato, Minnesota, in the winter of 1862.  A Morgan silver dollar from 1890 is centered to give attention to a dreadful time that should never be forgotten or repeated.  

Jerry Fogg,  Archive

Jerry Fogg, Archive

Despite the graphic nature of some of the paintings, the art exhibition was a tremendous success.  Tour groups and students from schools around the area came to see the exhibition.  Augustana University professors from several different disciplines used the art exhibition in their courses to teach everything from writing to social justice. 

Lasting Impact

As a museum professional, not just the conference coordinator and art show curator, the conference and exhibition were overwhelming.  With more than 450 people in attendance, the conference was the largest one ever held at Augustana.  The art show is still being talked about today, almost four years later.  We were not aware of any other gallery creating an exhibit or organization conducting a conference, or any other type of event, recognizing the anniversary of the 1973 Wounded Knee incident. Visitors to our gallery as well as artists in the show all have praised the Center for engaging the subject with professionalism and respect. 

Our event truly was special. It was so unique that C-Span sent a team to the conference to record the keynote presentation by Russell Means. The recording can be viewed by visiting the C-Span website here. Means died in six months after the conference in October 2012. His presentation at our conference was his last major public appearance. 

One of the conference presenters, Stew Magnuson, a free-lance journalist, was so moved by the conference that he wrote a book about it.  Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding: The American Indian Movement, the FBI, and their Fight to Bury the Sins of the Past, was published in 2013, less than a year after the conference.  In 2014, conference presenter and journalist inside Wounded Knee in 1973 Kevin McKiernan, released a documentary film about Wounded Knee using footage from the conference.  Just last month, South Dakota Magazine released its November/December 2015 issue, which was all about Wounded Knee 1890.  The cover story was featured art from the exhibition and included many images from our show.

Go out and and get a copy of South Dakota Magazine and read the articles.  Get a copy of Stew Magnuson's book.  Read about the history of Wounded Knee 1890 and 1973.  Keep the historical memory alive.  Don't let it disappear.  It is something we should never forget. 

Once in a while we get to be a part of something that is much bigger than ourselves.  The highlight of my career to this point was coordinating the 2012 Dakota Conference and art show.  As a historian, I thought that I knew a lot about both the 1890 massacre and the 1973 occupation in 2012.  I got an education coordinating these two events.  It was a sobering and humbling to work with Oglala Lakota who had ancestors killed in 1890.  And it was a privilege to talk to people who had been at Wounded Knee in 1973.  Seeing the images and hearing the passion still strong in the voices of participants in the 1973 event was incredible. 

It is a good reminder that history is sometimes messy.  All we know about historical events are the traces left to us in the present.  It is up to us to make interpretations based on that evidence.  In his novel Waterland, British author Graham Swift writes, “history is that impossible thing: the attempt to give an account with incomplete knowledge, of actions themselves undertaken with incomplete knowledge…by forever attempting to explain, we may come not to an Explanation but to a knowledge of the limits of our power to explain.  We are one-tenth living tissue, nine-tenths water; life is one-tenth Here and Now, nine-tenths a history lesson.” 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.
I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.
You may bury my body in Sussex grass,
You may bury my tongue at Champmédy.
I shall not be there.  I shall rise and pass.
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.

From American Names, by Stephen Vincent Benét


Below are clickable links to websites, documents, and photographs from the conference, art show, and both the 1890 and 1973 events. 

Interpretations of Wounded Knee Call for Art

Interpretations of Wounded Knee Press Release

Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later Conference Program

Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later Russell Means Presentation on CSPAN

Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later Conference Papers

Book written about the conference, Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding: The American Indian Movement, the FBI, and their Fight to Bury the Sins of the Past, February 2013

Documentary film about Wounded Knee 1973 by Kevin McKeirnan, using footage from the conference, November 2014

Film trailer

South Dakota Magazine cover story, Wounded Knee 125 Years Later, November 2015

Historic photos from 1890

High quality images from both events

For further reading:

Banks, Dennis and Richard Erdoes.  Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American
Indian Movement.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005. 

Brown, Dee.  Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West.  New York: Henry Holt & Company, Inc., 1991.

Clow, Richmond L.  The Sioux in South Dakota History: A Twentieth-Century Reader.  Pierre, SD: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2007. 

Dewing, Rolland.  Wounded Knee II.  Chadron, NE: Great Plains Network, 1995.

Flood, Renee Sansom.  Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota.  New York: Scribner, 2014. 

Greene, Jerome.  American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014. 

Grua, David W.  Surviving Wounded Knee: The Lakotas and the Politics of Memory.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 

Magnuson, Stew.  The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns.  Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press, 2010. 

Magnuson, Stew.  Wounded Knee 1973: Still Bleeding: The American Indian Movement, the FBI, and their Fight to Bury the Sins of the Past.  Arlington, VA: Courtbridge Publishing, 2013. 

Matthiessen, Peter.  In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.  New York: Viking, 1991. 

Means, Russell and Marvin J. Wolf.  Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means.  New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1995.

Ostler, Jeffrey.  The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Richardson, Heather Cox.  Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre.  New York: Basic Books, 2010. 

 Sayer, John William.  Ghost Dancing the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 

Trimbach, Joseph H. and John M. Trimbach.  American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent’s True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM).  Parker, CO: Outskirts Press, Inc., 2007. 

Utley, Robert M.  The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890.  Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. 

Wilson, James.  The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America.  New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999.