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The Sioux Empire Podcast

The Sioux Empire Podcast

By Robert Mehling
Stories you've never heard in the Sioux Empire about the Sioux Empire.
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The Balloon Episode: Adventure in the Skies And Death From Above
On This Episode, casualties mount in the early space race as the United States and other nations struggle to regain the record for the highest altitude reached from the fledgling Soviet Union.  But the US finds a secret weapon, a canyon in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  And then, The Empire of the Rising Sun attempts to reign fire and death from above on the Sioux Empire. Voice Actors:  Adam Wells, Brett Stolz, Amanda Mehling, Leah Simmons, Levi Hanson, Luke Johnson, Malia Lukomski, and Nathan Hults. Produced and Written by Robert Mehling
November 1, 2020
Halloween 2020 Four True Tales of Terror
In this episode, four documented stories of strangeness and tragedy.  The gruesome death of a mysterious foreign woman and subsequent haunting make her the first ghost report ever recorded in Deadwood. The Sisseton tell a tale of a valley where the earth bleeds and cries. A lady card shark plays her final hand. Still, she doesn’t seem to know it yet, and a man on the frontier kills his treacherous business partner, five years after his own death.  A special thank you to the Siouxland Libraries of Sioux Falls. Also to Betty Jean Mertens and the Kennebec Public Library. And Pioneer Historian Lonis Wendt of Vivian. Voice Actors:  Levi Hanson, Brett Stolz, Malia Lukomski, and Adam Wells Produced and Written by Robert Mehling
October 1, 2020
Wessington Hills
Yankton Sioux Elders told a story of a group of these Potawatomi (Potawanami) and Miami, who made their way west to find new land.  The Potawatomi tried to claim the hills and great spring of the hills for their own, but the Yankton were a proud warrior people and would not allow their territory to be taken without a fight.  Near the sight of the Big Spring, a great and terrible battle ensued.  The Potawatomi were led by a war chief with a legendary name, Little Turtle.  Chief Little Turtle may have wielded the pistols and sword personally gifted to his family by George Washington into the battle.  But the Yanktons were great warriors, fighting on their own land, and in the end, the Potawatomi were defeated.  Little Turtle died bravely and was honored by the Yankton.  They buried him on the highest nearby point overlooking the land Little Turtle had hoped would be a new promised land for his people.  The Yankton marked his grave with two stone turtle mosaics on the ground. On this episode, we tell the story of a place where pioneers tell stories about terrible killings and forgotten lore.  Where horse thieves and night riders ruled cast a shadow over the entire eastern half of Dakota Territory and legendary Deadwood lawmen fear to tread.  A place called the Wessington Hills. This episode features an interview with Dr. Armik Mirzayan Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of South Dakota.  An expert on American Indian languages. I really hope you enjoy this episode.  If you want to do your own research or dig deeper into the sources used in this episode, the full works cited for each episode are available to Patreon supporters.  Your donations help me access more books, research databases, and other resources that I couldn't access otherwise, and that helps keep the show going.   Donations are accepted through Venmo and Patreon. If you like the show but don't want to donate anything that's totally cool, not everyone can do that, but you'd be doing me a huge favor if you shared the show on social media, left a five-star review, or just told a friend about the show.  That costs you nothing, and it means the world to me. Thank you, Sioux Empire!
September 1, 2020
The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan
Without warning Four shots ring out and echo through the valley of Poorman’s Gulch outside of Lead South Dakota.  Father Belknap lies bleeding on the ground.  He’s been shot at point-blank range by four .45 Caliber rounds.  Here on the ground, he will bleed to death in his priestly vestments that he’d quickly put on, having been lured to this spot by being told a member of his flock desperately needed last rights.  The brutality of this crime will shock both Catholics and Protestants across South Dakota.  The year is 1921 and Father Belknap’s killers will never be found. The rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan in South Dakota is next. Learn more at This episode features interviews with: Dr. Michael Gérard White, Film professor and head of the Hot Attic Film school at Wayne State College and teaches film criticism and production. Shelby Hagerdon, a historian with a major in film theory. Currently earning a master's degree in film theory next fall. Lori Miller, Director of Research and board member for South Dakota Voices for Peace and South Dakota Voices for Justice.
August 1, 2020
Hemp in South Dakota, A History
In 2019 South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a popular bill in South Dakota to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.  At the time she famously said that South Dakota was “not ready.”  But just over one hundred years ago, a South Dakota Governor would beg Washington and the private sector for help getting an emergency hemp industry started in the state.  The Story of how hemp went from commodity, to odity, to war hero, to menace to children, to war hero again, to menace, to a cash crop of the future is next.
July 1, 2020
The Reboot
Greetings, and welcome back to the Sioux Empire Podcast. It's been a long time, and a lot has happened both globally and nationally as well as personally for me. We've been silent for a while. So I've had a lot of time to think about what I want from this podcast and from podcasting in general. As some of you may know, I've been mourning a loss in the family of someone close as well as dealing with a health scare with my dad that required several heart surgeries while we were away. These events have both had a profound effect on me. Specifically, my thoughts on what I want to do with my time while I'm here on this earth with you, and then the COVID outbreak began, which brought all of that into even more stark relief. For now, I'll be focusing on telling non-fiction stories. I'm not ruling out a future season of the wonderful audio drama we produced last year, Edge Case Podcast ( So finally you're probably wondering where is this going, what is the plan to move this podcast forward. The answer is that the Sioux Empire Podcast will now be my primary focus once again in podcasting. It also means that I'll be making the most radical shift in the show's format I've ever attempted. The Sioux Empire Podcast is moving towards a highly produced and polished non-fiction audio format. It will include facts, history, current events, and human interest stories about the Sioux Empire. Our goal is to bring a unique perspective with journalistic honesty to those living and working individuals and families from the Sioux Empire. Stories you've never heard in the Sioux Empire about the Sioux Empire. It will be a very different format than the last show. I hope if you're an old listener, you stick around and give us a chance. And if you are new to the podcast, we hope you enjoy where this is going.
June 14, 2020