Saturday, December 4, 2021

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Happy Thanksgiving from the West River Eagle!

The profiles, recipes and remembrances below are our Thanksgiving offering to you. Please enjoy them from our tiospaye to yours.


J.P. Hutson

Science Correspondent

J.P. is a veteran, historian, artist and science-lover. He writes our weekly weather column which is specifically tailored to the Cheyenne River micro-climates. His funny bone is a little weak and needs strengthening, so please check out the weekly weather joke and send us a better one!

Uncle Pate’s Feckin’ Good Black Beans and Rice


Two bags Uncle Ben’s premade long grain wild rice

You can substitute four cups cooked rice. Use two thirds long grain wild rice mixed with one third long grain basmati rice or jasmine rice. You can also use raw rice, in which case use enough liquid and bake for an hour or until rice is done.)

Two cans store brand or Bush’s seasoned black beans – well shaken, drain off top water

One can black-eyed peas – not shaken, drained

Soy sauce (4 tsp)

Worcestershire sauce (1 tsp)

Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice (5 tsp)

Greek seasoning or other seasonings to taste

Salt and pepper

Optional chicken thighs and/or shredded cheese

Preheat 12” cast iron skillet with ¼ cup bacon grease. Whisk together dressing. Mix together all ingredients in pan. Add water, stock or white wine as needed. Sprinkle with Greek seasoning. Cover with foil. Place in 375 degree oven for 30 mins. Top with optional shredded cheese.


Floyd Braun

Home and Garden Columnist

Floyd writes our weekly home and garden column. He is an expert on all things handy. So much so that when our editor accomplishes a remarkable household project, she makes sure to tell Floyd all about it. Leaky bathroom sink leak repaired? Check! Window screen repaired? Check! Floyd never fails to provide encouragement and advice.

“I think my favorite food for Thanksgiving is apple pie or any homemade berry pie. Next would be stuffing drowned in gravy of course. Leftover turkey sandwiches are the best, I never get tired of that. Wishing all of you happy holidays, wherever you may be, near or far.” ~Floyd


Patty Peacock

Staff Photographer

Patty takes amazing pictures for the West River Eagle. Patty was inspired by our mutual hero, Evelyn Anderson, to cover school news and photos. She says, “It’s often easy to focus on the negative things going on in the world and in the news. I think seeing positive things that students and small communities are doing helps bring life to a more positive light. We simply all need a lot more of that in our lives.”

Sweet Potato Casserole

2 cans of yams 15 oz each.

1 bag of marshmallows

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups of pecans pieces

Drain the canned yams and blend with blender or hand-held mixer.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix thoroughly.  Place in a greased casserole dish.  Cover the mixture with pecans (or add the pecans earlier and mix in before placing into dish–either way works) and then cover that blended mixture with marshmallows.  Lastly, placed in the over at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Alanna Taylor


Alanna started writing for the West River Eagle earlier in 2021. She is a full-time grant writer who helped non-profit organizations secure over $1M in COVID relief funding since August! She has a passion for learning and social justice.

Alanna describes her work as a writer, “My keystrokes have created social-emotional learning programs for children and parents, summer wellness activities for youth, workforce development initiatives with wraparound services, and community education about sex trafficking.”

Alanna was privileged to interview Mrs. Marcella Rose LeBeau earlier this year about Marcella’s trip to Washington, DC, to advocate for the Remove the Stain Act. She offers this advice for family holiday gatherings, “Make time for your elders. Interview them. Record them. Honor them while they are here. Create opportunities for our elders to shine and advocate for causes, and offer them dignity and respect while honoring their life before they transition.”


Grace Terry


Grace’s column, “Recipes and Reflections with Granny Grace” runs every other week. Since beginning to write for the West River Eagle Grace has discovered a passion for the unfolding story of Indigenous boarding schools across the United States and Canada. She feels it’s an important story to anyone to understand.

Five Cup Fruit Salad

When I was a child, our holidays were usually celebrated with my dad’s large extended family at his childhood home in rural southeast Arkansas. 

The original recipe called for a cup of each of the following: pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, sour cream, mini marshmallows, and coconut. Drain the canned fruit and mix all ingredients together. Chill and serve. It doesn’t matter so much if there is exactly one cup of each ingredient. I just drain a couple of large cans of pineapple chunks and several small cans of mandarin oranges, then just toss in the other ingredients until it looks “about right.” I use low fat sour cream instead of full fat and the mixture is just as delicious.  


Melissa Witte Berninger

Nature Columnist

Melissa writes a birding column for the West River Eagle every other week. A native of Cincinnati, she moved to Vermillion, SD from Brooklyn, NY. She is the director of the Honors Program at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion.

As a Cincinnati native, the classic WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving special holds a special place in her memory. She wrote about it this week. She also recommends you look up a recipe for “Cincinnati Chili” and give it a try. This regional favorite is served over spaghetti, topped with beans, onions, cheese and oyster crackers.


Liz Hiles


Liz has a passion for writing and education that oozes out of her. She is an Engagement Specialist and Bladder Cancer Survivor for the online cancer information center GRYT Health (

Liz got connected to the West River Eagle through a mutual friend she shares with our editor, Fran. Since then, she’s written on a wide variety of topics and is developing a knack for local business interest stories like her recent feature on Missouri Breaks’ durable medical equipment business.


Warren LeBeau

Sports Columnist

Warren covers local sports across the region. He follows Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Potter County, Mobridge, and more. Warren loves uplifting students and their remarkable efforts. He is passionate about telling stories about and for local kids who might be overlooked.


Fran Carr

Interim Editor

Fran began as a freelancer for the West River Eagle in January 2019. She became our interim editor is the midst of pandemic. Everyone once in a while, she has a moment where she smacks the table and says, “I love my job!”

Fran shares, “I remember a Thanksgiving in the early Nineties celebrated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a Mexican friend from Texas. We had food on the table from her Mexican heritage, from New England, from Slovenian ancestors, and all the traditional American foods. I made a turkey with an apple glaze that I will never be able to duplicate!”

The West River Eagle has a remarkable, diverse and passionate staff.

The combined efforts of our writers, office staff and sales rep come together every week to place this newspaper in your hands and on your browser.

We want you to join us! The West River Eagle is a home for unique voices. We seek local people to learn the craft of writing, no experience required! Young people, elders, native Lakota speakers, students, writers and photographers…there’s space for you here. All you need is a story in your heart. We’ll support the rest.

We especially need people to do local coverage. What’s happening in your home town you want to tell the world about?

The West River Eagle and Cheyenne River have a message to share with the wider world. The issues here have worldwide ramifications. Help turn the West River Eagle into a lively snapshot of local life and a messenger to the world about the solutions coming about here.

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