Oak Lake Writers' Society Records

Walk for Justice Indian Writers Conference Correspondence Oak Lake Writers' Society History Poetry Reading at the South Dakota Art Museum Joseph Marshall Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Roberta Hill Charles Woodard Lecture, The truth about Devils Tower Lannan Foundation Proposal Oak Lake Writers Press Correspondence First Annual Lakota Storytelling Festival  Poster Storytelling, Storykeeping Retreat Planning Voices From Along the River Mini Grant Oak Lake Writers Dialogue Questions Tribal Writers' Retreat Sessions Oak Lake Writers' Society By-laws Oak Lake Writers' Society Poster Oak Lake Retreat Mentors Oak Lake Writers' Retreat Oak Lake Writers' Retreat Oak Lake Tribal Writers' Retreat Announcement Oak Lake Tribal Writers' Retreat Schedule

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Reference code

MA 103

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Oak Lake Writers' Society Records


  • 1989-2016 (Creation)


2.94 linear feet [7 document cases]

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Administrative history

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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Scope and content

This collection is composed of materials related to the Oak Lake Writers Society and their summer retreats. A large portion of the collection is email correspondence between Charles Woodard, a member of the English department as South Dakota State University, and applicants. Folders also contain newspaper clippings, application forms, written stories, and funding materials.

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Conditions governing access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

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South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

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  • English

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  • Renville, Florestine Kiyukanpi, and Oak Lake Writers' Society. We're Still Here : Oak Lake Writers 20th Anniversary Publication. 2013. Print.
    Archives/Upper level: PS508.I5 W47 2013
  • Howe, Craig Phillip., Kimberly. TallBear, and Oak Lake Writers' Society. This Stretch of the River. South Dakota]: Oak Lake Writers' Society, 2006. Print.
    South Dakota Collection/Upper level: F592.4.T44 2003
  • Woyake Kinikiya : A Tribal Model Literary Journal. (1994). Print.
    South Dakota Collection/Upper level: PS508.I5 W69
    Howe, Craig Phillip., Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, Lanniko L. Lee, and Oak Lake Writers' Society. He Sapa Woihanble : Black Hills Dream. St. Paul, Minn.: Living Justice, 2011. Print.
    South Dakota Collection/Upper Level: E99.D1 H4 2011

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