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History & Heritage Book Club

We've got a great lineup of programs coming to the Heritage Center. We hope to see you at the meetings!

Gitchie Girl Uncovered

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, Phil and Sandy Hamman will discuss their books “Gitchie Girl” and “Gitchie Girl Uncovered.” The Hammans both teach in Sioux City, Iowa, and will be speaking to those at the Cultural Heritage Center via the state’s video conferencing network. Those attending will be able to see, hear and talk to the authors.

On Nov. 17, 1973, five teenagers from Sioux Falls went to Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, located on the South Dakota/Iowa border. Before the night was over, four of the teenagers had been killed by three brothers. Sandra Cheskey, 13 at the time, survived and came to be known as the “Gitchie Girl.”

She never spoke about events of that evening until nearly 40 years later, when she decided to share her story after reading Phil Hamman’s memoir, “Under the Influence.” Phil knew Cheskey and the boys who were killed. “Gitchie Girl” was published in 2016 and tells about the murders but focusses on Cheskey’s life.

“Gitchie Girl Uncovered” was released in January 2019. It recaps the murders but provides more information about the killers and their backgrounds, as well as the investigation into the crimes and court transcripts.

The books will be sold in the Heritage Stores. They are written so they can be read in sequence or independently.

On May 14, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition sets off on its journey across the western portion of the United States. Although the precise number is unknown, nearly 48 men proceed up the Missouri River in a keelboat and two smaller boats called pirogues.

Lonis Wendt of Pierre will tell about the Corps of Discovery at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at the Cultural Heritage Center. Wendt is well-versed about the Corps of Discovery and frequently gives presentations about it. The Heritage Store at the Cultural Heritage Center sells Stephen Ambrose’s book about the expedition, “Undaunted Courage.”

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.

About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a private charitable nonprofit that seeks funding to assist the South Dakota State Historical Society in programming and projects to preserve South Dakota’s history and heritage for future generations.