Homestead Act

COMMENTARY
A man poses with a homestead shack in the area between Dupree and Eagle Butte, on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. (Palmer Sigvald Gilbertson Collection, University of South Dakota)

The cost of free land and either-or history

BY: - November 20, 2023

Some white South Dakotans love to talk about their generational connection to the land. I’m one of them: a proud, fifth-generation descendant of Dakota Territory homesteaders. The federal government awarded nearly 100,000 parcels of free land to South Dakota settlers via the 1862 Homestead Act and successive rounds of related legislation. Modern South Dakotans celebrate […]