Rodney Taylor: Donovin Sprague: Lakota Historian, Author

Native Sun News Today: Donovin Sprague, Lakota historian

RAPID CITY – Donovin Sprague Hump is a Lakota man of many talents.

He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and was born and raised in Dupree, South Dakota. Now, at the age of 66, he has numerous books published, is the head of the Department of History at Sheridan College, and lectures around the country and in Europe.

Sprague graduated from Dupree High School, and then received a bachelor’s degree in social science and American Indian Studies from Black Hills State University. He went on to receive a master’s degree in political science from the University of South Dakota.

Sprague was the head of American Indian Education for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.

Author, lecturer, historian and professor Donovin Sprague Hump. Photo: Rocknrecords

Now, working at Sheridan College, his classes range from Native American history and art to tribal laws and treaties. There is a great appreciation for Sprague’s classes in Sheridan and his enrollment regularly hosts community professionals like lawyers and doctors alongside traditional students. He leads students on field trips to battle grounds and cultural sites around Sheridan as often as possible.

“It’s all here,” said Sprague while reference places where battles like the Little Bighorn and the Fetterman fight took place. There are also numerous cultural sites around Sheridan including the Medicine Wheel. “There are a lot of buffalo jumps right here around Sheridan, and there is even pottery from the Missouri region that can be found in them,” he said

Sprague’s knowledge of traditional Native American historical sources makes him one of the premier experts on the topics, and he has worked with several tribes across the country including the Choctaw Nation and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. “I’m glad that I have a place in the academic world where I can help people understand sources like winter counts and oral stories,” he said.

But Sprague recognizes that his work does not end with strictly one discipline. “Archeological sources are good, too,” he said. “There are a lot of portions, but if you take it as a whole then you can get a really good understanding of it all.”

He will be giving a presentation that is titled “American Indian History of Diseases, Medicine and Healthcare” on June 23, 2020. The presentation is sponsored by Sheridan College and will be available on Zoom.

On June 25, 2020, Sprague will be giving his annual presentation on the Battle of the Little Bighorn for the Journey Museum. This year’s presentation for the Journey will take place over Zoom as well, but it has sold out the theater space in years past.


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