SPEARFISH | Jeffrey Viken, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, will talk about prejudice in the Black Hills and its roots in lack of information and education during a talk at Black Hills State University Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union Jacket Legacy Room.
Viken’s presentation, titled “Why are there so many Indians around here? A middle schooler’s question evokes reflection on racial prejudice,” is part of BHSU’s Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series. Viken was to deliver this speech on the BHSU campus last spring during American Indian Awareness Week but was forced to reschedule due to inclement weather.
Viken, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, will talk about the history of Indian and non-Indian people in the region and discuss ways both can coexist in the Black Hills.
Viken was sworn in to the U.S. District Court Sept. 30, 2009. He was born in Huron and received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Dakota. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota and held the positions of First Assistant and Acting U.S Attorney. Viken was in the private practice of law for more than 20 years before being appointed a judge. He was elevated to his current position as chief judge on Jan. 1 of this year. Viken has his chambers in Rapid City.
Viken’s talk is sponsored by the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series. The series was established in 1986 by a gift endowment from Madeline Young, a 1924 alumna. Young expressed her desire to host controversial, stimulating, and enlivening speakers at BHSU. It was initiated at the University in 1987 with an address by former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Other Madeline Young Speakers have included: Terry Waite, former hostage, hostage negotiator and envoy for England’s Archbishop of Canterbury; Felix Justice and Danny Glover, actors; Sam Donaldson, television broadcaster; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner; and Lech Walesa, former Polish president.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series contact Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement, at 605-642-6385 or Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu.