Plains Folk

Plains Folk, a commentary devoted to life on the great plains of North America, is now a special weekly feature on Main Street. Written by Tom Isern of West Fargo, North Dakota, and read in newspapers across the region for years, Plains Folk venerates fall suppers and barn dances and reminds us that “more important to our thoughts than lines on a map are the essential characteristics of the region–the things that tell what the plains are, not just where they are.” You can hear Plains Folk once a week during Main Street, weekdays at 3 pm CT with a repeat at 7 pm CT.

To read more Plains Folk commentaries, click on the “archives” link.

Recent Shows

  • Native Winnebago Drawing

    This was not a case of a treasure hiding-in-plain-sight. It was more a case of even-a-blind-hog-finds-an-acorn-once-in-a-while.   Honestly, I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this marvelous pictograph in the online catalog of the Smithsonian Institution. I must have been lost—like this document was for so many years, because it was mis-identified on intake, sometime […]

  • Men such as These

    We live in an era when male role models are muddled. At the same time popular culture sets aside old ideals of masculinity, we fret about the confusion this creates for boys. Boys seem to be falling behind in school and having trouble moving confidently into life as men.   If we go looking for […]

  • Lives of Complexity

    Lifted gently from the cabinets of the Smithsonian Museum Support Center, and placed into my hands, is a heavy artifact that on first contact bespeaks little gentleness. It is a heavy maul, its head a cantaloupe-sized piece of red quartzite. It might be used to drive a stake, or to smash a skull. Either or […]

  • Handling the Artifacts

    Valuable artifacts far removed from their context can lose their capacity to speak. Objects compellingly communicative in their proper situation may be rendered mute by transportation to a distant place. But not necessarily so.   By appointment, and with some modest logistical difficulty, I viewed and handled a collection of artifacts housed in the Museum […]

  • A New Rock Star

    I am willing to admit that I still get a hoot out of the comic performances of Clyde Bauman, a.k.a. Milo Hatzenbuler, a “man of the soil transformed into a rock music icon,” as he puts it, the “North Dakota Rock Star.” Of course, if you’ve heard Milo perform seriously as Clyde, a fine tenor, […]

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