South Dakota
 
 
 
 
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Learn before you travel. This section of Fun Easy English focuses on facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. This is great English reading practice. This page focuses on the state of South Dakota.
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South Dakota

A Great Plains state, South Dakota was named for the Dakota division of the Sioux Indians, and is known as the Coyote State. Admitted simultaneously with North Dakota after the Dakota Territory was divided along the 46th parallel, South Dakota is mainly a rural state. Today, just less than 10 percent of its population is American Indian. South Dakota is known for two monumental sculptures carved into the Black Hills--Mount Rushmore, which honors presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, and the Crazy Horse Monument, still under construction, which honors the Oglala Sioux war chief. The state flower is the pasqueflower, also called the May Day flower; its blooming is one of the first signs of spring in South Dakota.
Flag of South DakotaSouth Dakota State Flag


The state flag of South Dakota features the great seal on a blazing sun in the center against a field of sky blue. The words "South Dakota" appear above the seal and the official state nickname appears below; "The Mount Rushmore State." South Dakota flags that are designed for indoor and display use have a golden fringe on three sides.

The symbols on the great seal of South Dakota represent the state's commerce, industry, and natural resources. "Under God the People Rule" (South Dakota's state motto) appears at the top of the inner circle, which has a background of sky and hills. In the foreground, a steam ship navigates a river running through agricultural and industrial land. The outer circle of the seal bears the words "State of South Dakota," "Great Seal," and "1889" (the year South Dakota became a state).

Pledge to South Dakota Flag

The official pledge to the state flag is: "I pledge loyalty and support to the flag and state of South Dakota, land of sunshine, land of infinite variety."
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of South DakotaSouth Dakota State Facts

Picture: state seal of South Dakota
State Capital Pierre (Pronounced Peer)
Nickname Mt. Rushmore State / Coyote State
Motto Under God the People Rule.
Statehood November 2, 1889 (39th or 40th -- Admitted the same day as ND.)
Origin of Name Dakota is a Sioux Indian word for "friend."
Largest Cities Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings
Border States Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming
Area 75,898 sq. mi., 16th largest
State Bird Ring-necked Pheasant
State Flower Pasqueflower (pulsatilla hirsutissima)
State Tree Black Hills Spruce (picea glauca)
State Song Hail, South Dakota
Map showing the location of South DakotaTravel and tourism site for South Dakota - This state travel and territorial tourism site provides ideas for your vacations, meetings, and more.
South Dakota Stories
 
The Corn Palace

Imagine a building covered with colorful murals. Now imagine that same building with an exterior made entirely out of corn and other grains! This building exists -- it is the Corn Palace.

Built in 1892 in Mitchell, South Dakota, the Corn Palace was created to dramatically display the products of the harvest of South Dakota's farmers, in murals on the outside of the building. The murals are made from thousands of bushels of corn and other grains and grasses such as wild oats, rye, straw, and wheat. Each year these corn decorations are completely stripped down and entirely new murals are created. The Corn Palace is a great tourist attraction and a meeting place for the community. Many events are held here and the most popular is the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo. But the horses must be watched carefully so they don't eat the building!
 
Black Hills, South Dakota

The Black Hills is a hilly region of pine forests, caves, lakes, canyons, and prairies that, from a distance, looks black. American Indians such as the Lakota considered the Black Hills to be a sacred area and hunting ground. By the late 19th century, however, the U.S. government drove the Indians out after white miners discovered gold in the hills.

Today, large parts of the Black Hills are park areas that tourists enjoy. They are also home to various wildlife, including bison, elk, coyotes, and prairie dogs. This is a special refuge for bison in particular because white men slaughtered so many in the 19th century that they almost became extinct at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then efforts have been made to protect them. Now bison herds have increased to the hundreds of thousands.
 
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Can you name the presidents carved on Mount Rushmore?

Carving started on the amazing Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 1927. It continued for 14 years, with the help of more than 350 people. The faces of four presidents are carved into the mountainside: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. At first, there was a suggestion to carve famous western figures, people like Buffalo Bill, Lewis & Clark, and Sacagawea. But a special group, a "commission," instead chose these presidents because they best represented the "foundation, expansion and preservation" of the United States.

A sculptor named Gutzon Borglum was asked to design Mount Rushmore. He chose the dramatic setting for this sculpture in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He decided that the best way to remove large pieces of rock from the mountain was to use dynamite. He and his workers became skilled at carving Mount Rushmore using carefully placed dynamite. In fact, more than 90 percent of the mountain was carved by dynamite! The rest was finished using air hammers. The faces of the presidents were finished one by one, Washington in 1930, Jefferson in 1936, Lincoln in 1937 and Roosevelt in 1939.

Today, Mount Rushmore is one of the most recognized monuments in the United States, with more than 2.7 million visitors each year.
 
Tabor Czech Days

Are there any food recipes that your family has passed down from one generation to another? If you are Italian, that might be a recipe for a delicious spaghetti sauce. Irish? Maybe your grandmother had a secret recipe for soda bread. African American? Perhaps there is a special way of making greens.

If you are Czech, there is probably a great recipe for kolaches (pronounced koh-lah-chus) in your family. This is a bun-shaped pastry traditionally served at weddings. Recipes for kolaches are protected family secrets, passed down through generations, because every Czech wants to make the most delicious kolaches. A kolache can be filled with all kinds of things: apricots, cherries, prunes, sweetened cottage cheese, poppy seeds, cabbage, sausage ... or anything else that a kolaches maker thinks would taste good! What kind of kolache would you make?

Tabor, South Dakota, celebrates its heritage every year with a festival called Czech Days. Around 1869, settlers came from Czechoslovakia to form this small South Dakota community. During Czech Days, Tabor is filled with the sound of polka music and the wonderful smell of freshly baked kolaches.
 
Northern Plain Tribal Arts Exposition

How can you tell that a Native American made the dress in the photo? Is it because Native Americans have a unique style of traditional dress?

The Northern Plains Indians have artistic traditions that they want to preserve. Every September in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, they hold the Northern Plains Art Expo to display and promote their artwork. The event features the works of about 100 Native American artists from 33 tribes of the Northern Plains states. The Expo has attracted about 5,000 visitors each year, including art collectors from around the world. Nationally acclaimed experts in the field of Native American art act as judges in the show.

Each year an artist is selected as the event's promotional artist. The artist's work is featured on posters, brochures, and T-shirts. Prizes and ribbons are awarded to the outstanding artist in the categories Best of Fine Arts and Best of Tribal Arts. The Art Expo is sponsored by American Indian Services, an organization that works to promote Native American people's unique customs.
 
Custer State Park

Do you know what an endangered species is? It's a plant or animal that is in danger of extinction. The bison, or buffalo, was an endangered species in the United States. Before Europeans came to America, huge numbers of bison roamed free on the prairies -- about 30 million! European settlers hunted them eagerly, believing that there would always be a continual supply of wild bison. Unfortunately, they were wrong. So many bison were hunted that by 1890 there were only 750 animals left. A law was passed to protect them, and today most bison live in parks and wildlife reserves.

Custer State Park was the first state park created in South Dakota, in 1897. It's also South Dakota's largest state park, covering 73,000 acres. The park contains lakes, prairies, and pine forests. These settings are the perfect homes for many kinds of wildlife, such as elk and bighorn sheep, like the rams in the photo. Herds of bison also live in the park. Today, there are about 80,000 to 90,000 bison, thanks to efforts to preserve the species.
Source: Library of Congress
National Forests, Parks, and Monuments of South Dakota

The following is a description of national forests, parks, and monuments in the state of South Dakota. If you plan to visit or live in South Dakota for awhile then you should definitely plan to visit some of these fantastic places.
 
National Forests
Custer

Custer National Forest includes the Beartooth Highway and the Capitol Rock and the Castles National Natural Landmarks. The forest's Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness includes Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana at 12,807 ft (3,904 m). This national forest is also partially located in the state of Montana.
Black Hills

Consisting predominately of Ponderosa pine, this forest is located in the namesake Black Hills. There are 11 reservoirs, 353 mi (568 km) of trails, and 1,300 mi (2,100 km) of streams in this forest. Black Elk Peak is the highest point in South Dakota and the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains at 7,244 ft (2,208 m). This national forest is also partially located in the state of Wyoming.
 
National Parks
Badlands

The Badlands are a collection of buttes, pinnacles, spires, and mixed-grass prairies. The White River Badlands contain the largest assemblage of known late Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils.[16] The wildlife includes bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs.
Wind Cave

Wind Cave is distinctive for its calcite fin formations called boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere, and needle-like growths called frostwork. The cave is one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Above ground is a mixed-grass prairie with animals such as bison, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs, and ponderosa pine forests that are home to cougars and elk.[106] The cave is culturally significant to the Lakota people as the site "from which Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery, sent the buffalo out into their hunting grounds.
 
National Monuments
Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world, with more than 195 miles (314 km) of mapped passageways beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota. The entrance was discovered by miners in 1900 and was named for its calcite crystals.
 
Travel America
Badlands National Park
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening and reading practice.
This video is all about Badlands National Park.
Cool America
About the U.S.A.

About the U.S.A. is an American Studies reader that examines the customs, government, and history of the United States of America. The text provides a wealth of information on U.S. geography and history; the roles of local, state, and federal government; national holidays and symbols; the Constitution; and citizenship. The book, which was written for intermediate to advanced learners of English, contains a range of activities for language students to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. (opens to a new PDF window) Great English reading practice.
About America

Learn about the fascinating history and government of the United States of America. Lessons include content on American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics. Handouts with interactive games and student-centered activities encompass all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Great English reading practice for beginning to intermediate students.
American Teens Talk!

Americans Teens Talk! is a collection of interviews of American high school students. Each interview is accompanied by vocabulary notes and discussion questions. The interviews in American Teens Talk! give learners a view into the lives of adolescents in the U.S. Through the written format of the interviews, learners are able to increase their vocabulary, practice their reading and listening skills, engage in discussions, and learn more about U.S. culture. These interviews come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading
Sing Out Loud Children's Songs

Sing Out Loud Children's Songs includes popular children's songs in the U.S.A. Posters accompany the individual Sing Out Loud Children's Songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs

The Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs collection contains 13 traditional American folk songs and song lyrics. Listen to the songs online, read the lyrics, and collect the posters that accompany the songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud American Rhythms

Do you love music? Want to use it to learn English? Check out the hip-hop inspired song "Peace" from Sing Out Loud American Rhythms. American Rhythms includes a variety of musical genres from many different artists in the U.S.A. These songs will appeal to teens and young adults. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Route 66 - Famous American Road

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.
Route 66: The Highway That's the Best
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Chicago: The Start of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Going West for Decades on Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Arizona: The Spirit of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Route 66 California: The End of the Trail
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Ten Must-See Route 66 Attractions
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Four Famous Foods On Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
International Tourists Drawn to Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
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