Oak Lake Writers' Society

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Oak Lake Writers' Society

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In 1993, the Oak Lake Writer’s Society was founded by Charles Woodard, an English professor and Lowell Amiotte, an assistant professor in Counseling and Education. In the same year, the Oak Lake Writer’s Society held their first retreat at the Oak Lake Field Station.

Oak Lake is located roughly 23 miles northeast of Brookings and was once a camp for girl scouts. In 1988, the Department of Schools and Public Schools bought Oak Lake from the girl scouts and transferred the land to South Dakota State University. The Oak Lake Field Station is considered a multiuse facility that holds many activities including biology labs, bird watching, canoeing, club events, and Oak Lake Writer’s Society retreats.

The first Oak Lake Writer’s Society Retreat was titled “Storytelling and Storykeeping” and hosted guest speakers N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a novelist and editor. The retreat serves three main purposes. First, it promotes interest in Oceti Sakowin literature. Second, it brings acclaimed Native American writers to the area. Third, it provides an opportunity for Oceti Sakowin people to improve and develop their writing skills. The Oak Lake Writers Society has continued to foster these three main purposes but has also gained another purpose of publishing society members' work. The Oak Lake Writer’s Society had since published three anthologies which are Woyake Kinikiya (1995), This Stretch of the River (2006), and He Sapa Woihanble (2011).

The Oak Lake Writers Society continues to hold retreats, but in 2021, the society became a nonprofit organization and was no longer tied to South Dakota State University.


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