BSC Hosts Last Community ‘Conversation’ Lecture


Today, Bismarck State College’s “Conversations,” a lecture series hosted by local historian Clay Jenkinson, had its final chapter.

“It’s very well thought out and I enjoy being here. I hate to see it go,” Mark Liebig, community member says.

It was the end of a series that started nine years ago.

Jenkinson, as well as BSC President Larry Skogen, had the final words on the lectures they began in the hopes of sharing knowledge with the community outside the college campus.

“Right now, because of the restrictions we had on our financial resources, we’re really going to be focusing on BSC students,” Skogen says.

Which means outreach programs like the Community “Conversations” are being cut entirely.

Fifty-two BSC staff members have already been let go, as well as millions of dollars cut from their budget.

And resources that have gone to programs like the “Conversations” in the past are no longer there.

“The time has passed for those now right now in the financial situation which we find ourselves,” Skogen says.

But for their final topic, they wanted to cover something that not only impacts North Dakota’s past, but is still effecting us today. 

Past “Education and Assimilation of Native Americans” can still be felt in North Dakota communities.

Jenkinson says learning the history of oppression Native Americans have faced can bring out compassion for issues Native Americans still struggle with, today.

“Knowlege is power and if we don’t have that knowledge we just react with the kind of talking points you get when you watch FOX or MSNBC,” Jenkinson says.

And Jenkinson says to move forward as a state we must first understand where we have been.

“It has been very difficult to be a Native American on the Northern Great Plains, historically,” Jenkinson says.

But for one community member he’ll miss the opportunities to learn each lesson gave him.

“I got hooked on this I never miss a program,” Liebig says.

The Sunday “Conversations” ranged widely from the Women’s Movement to Native American issues and Jenkinson says the support of the community is what kept him coming back year after year.

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