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Newspaper The Oglala Light ([Pine Ridge, S.D.]) 1899-19??

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About The Oglala Light ([Pine Ridge, S.D.]) 1899-19??

In April 1900, the Oglala Light was first published by the print shop at the United States Oglala Indian Training School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Native American children enrolled at the boarding school spent half their day on academics and the other half on learning a trade. The print shop was established in 1894 with a staff of four boys under the direction of the instructor-manager, Frank L. Hubbard. Succeeding managers were Fred E. Smith from 1906 to 1907, John Low Dog from 1907 to 1908, Francis Chapman from 1908 to 1913, and James W. Mumblehead from 1913 until 1920. The position of editor was created in 1909. Ralph H. Ross served as editor until September 1915, when Ross L. Spalsburg replaced him. The monthly, two-column periodical was published from April 1900 through April 1920 and initially cost 25 cents per year. The price increased to 50 cents with the April 1909 edition, and the number of pages increased from 14 to any number up to 40, with 30 pages being the average. The Oglala Light was widely circulated among other boarding schools for Native Americans, especially in the states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Headers used at various times included: “Issued every month in the interest of the Indian Service for the education and civilization of the Sioux Indian and done into print by Indian students of the Oglala Boarding School,” “For the education and civilization of the Sioux Indian,” and “Official Organ of Pine Ridge Reservation. A magazine issued in the Interest of all Indians, for all Indians, by Sioux Indians.” Despite these headers, almost all of the articles published in the Light were aimed at the teachers and other boarding school employees.

The Oglala Light also carried news and information about Indian tribes from the other states to which the Oglala Light was sent, including the Kiowa, Kaw, Pawnee, Osage, Hopi, Apache, Winnebago, Navajo, and Crow. A frequent topic of its articles was health; measures to prevent the spread of diseases were detailed, as were insights into the new germ and hygiene theories. There was much discussion of tuberculosis, along with other illnesses such as trachoma, the common cold, and Spanish Influenza.

During the Oglala Light‘s 20-year run, its coverage tended to change. At first the publication concentrated on the importance of preparing Indian children for employment. Nearly every issue focused on the merits of assimilation into White society or included an article by a student extolling the new ways taught in the school. Articles from other Indian school publications were frequently reprinted as well. They included how to use work environments such as a store, a farm, and the home to teach arithmetic; and sample lessons on butter making, bread making, and English language instruction. The Oglala Light solidly backed Prohibition and frequently carried articles about temperance. After 1915 the format gradually changed to include more coverage of local social activities including weddings, visitors, illnesses, births, deaths, commentaries on the weather, and news of vacations taken. Teacher transfers to other schools were reported, as was news from the surrounding towns of Porcupine, White Clay, Wounded Knee, Medicine Root, Corn Creek, and Kyle.  Baseball coverage also became common in the paper’s later years.

The Oglala Light carried several pages of advertising, most from small towns located just across the border in Nebraska, such as Chadron, Gordon, Rushville, and White Clay. Ads for banks were very common, as were advertisements for pharmacists, general merchandisers, and clothing stores.

Provided By: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives

About this Newspaper


  • The Oglala Light ([Pine Ridge, S.D.]) 1899-19??


  • Ross, Ralph H., Dr., editor
  • Spalsbury, Ross L., editor
  • Mumblehead, J. W., editor
  • United States Oglala Indian Training School (Pine Ridge, S.D.)

Dates of Publication

  • 1899-19??

Created / Published

  • [Pine Ridge, S.D.] : [Oglala Boarding School]


  • -  United States Oglala Indian Training School (Pine Ridge, S.D.)--Periodicals
  • -  United States Oglala Indian Training School (Pine Ridge, S.D.)--Newspapers
  • -  Indians of North America--South Dakota--Periodicals
  • -  Indians of North America--South Dakota--Newspapers
  • -  Indians of North America--Education--Newspapers
  • -  Dakota Indians--South Dakota--Newspapers
  • -  Dakota Indians--South Dakota--Periodicals
  • -  Pine Ridge (S.D.)--Periodicals
  • -  Oglala Lakota County (S.D.)--Periodicals
  • -  Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)--Periodicals
  • -  Pine Ridge (S.D.)--Newspapers
  • -  Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)--Newspapers
  • -  Indiens d'Amérique--Dakota du Sud--Périodiques
  • -  Indiens d'Amérique--Dakota du Sud--Journaux
  • -  Dakota (Indiens)--Dakota du Sud--Journaux
  • -  Dakota (Indiens)--Dakota du Sud--Périodiques
  • -  Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Dak. du S.)--Périodiques
  • -  Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Dak. du S.)--Journaux
  • -  United States Oglala Indian Training School (Pine Ridge, S.D.)
  • -  Indians of North America--Education
  • -  Dakota Indians
  • -  Indians of North America
  • -  South Dakota
  • -  South Dakota--Pine Ridge
  • -  South Dakota--Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
  • -  South Dakota--Oglala Lakota County
  • -  United States--South Dakota--Shannon County--Pine Ridge


  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals


  • -  Biweekly during the school year,
  • -  Began in 1899?
  • -  Published as a magazine, ; published as a biweekly newspaper, December 1, 1919-
  • -  "Official organ of Pine Ridge Reservation. A magazine issued in the interest of all Indians, for all Indians, by Sioux Indians."
  • -  "A monthly magazine printed by Indians."
  • -  Editors: Ralph H. Ross, January 1, 1909-; Ross L. Spalsbury -December 15,1919; J. W. Mumblehead, January 1-.
  • -  Published by: Oglala Indian Training School -
  • -  Issue numbering irregular.
  • -  Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Description based on: Fifth Year, Number 11 (February, 1905).
  • -  Latest issue consulted: Vol. 20, No. 10 (April 15, 1920).


  • volumes : illustrations

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper
  • E99.O3 O34

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2017270500

OCLC Number

  • 4178192

ISSN Number

  • 2689-226x

Additional Metadata Formats


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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

The Oglala Light Pine Ridge, S.D. -19??. (Pine Ridge, SD), Jan. 1 1899.

APA citation style:

(1899, January 1) The Oglala Light Pine Ridge, S.D. -19??. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

The Oglala Light Pine Ridge, S.D. -19??. (Pine Ridge, SD) 1 Jan. 1899. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,