On Friday, August 12, 2011 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln held commencement for all graduate programs. The History Department had four students graduate from the Masters program: Cassandra Auble, Dustin Kipp, Brian Sarnacki, and Jenna Schutz. Nathan Sanderson graduated with his Ph.D. in History and became the department's first Big 10 Ph.D. graduate. Sanderson's dissertation examined the life and times of George Edward Lemmon, a cattleman and rancher in Nebraska and South Dakota between 1857 and 1945. Lemmon played an important role in the development of cattle ranching on the Northern Great Plains, participated in railroad development, and shaped Native American-white settler relations. Sanderson examines, in particular, the ways the open range gradually closed and its effects on the region. Sanderson writes about how Lemmon used Native lands to hold an "open range" for his cattle to graze.
"Lemmon’s experiences as a cowboy and cattleman taught him many things," Sanderson explains, "including the value of using Indian lands for personal gain. In the 1880s, he and his fellow cattlemen were among the few non-Natives who opposed, rather than supported, opening “excess” land on Indian reservations to white settlement. Lemmon and others grazed thousands of cattle illegally on the Great Sioux Reservation in the western half of what is now South Dakota because the grass was free and they could avoid paying taxes on cattle that were not grazing in an organized county. An “open” reservation would end these activities. He also noted that rather than serving as a conduit for the development of the territory, large cattle ranchers made a concerted effort to prevent settlers from entering the Great Plains. They tried to restrict settlement because, like the Indians, the cattlemen knew the arrival of homesteaders would ultimately lead to the end of their way of life."
Sanderson current serves as the policy advisor for South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard on agriculture, environment and natural resources, energy, and public lands issues.
Congratulations Nathan, Brian, Cassandra, Jenna, and Dustin.
Department of History
612 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0327, USA
Phone : (402) 472-2414
Fax : (402) 472-8839