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amy kucera

A Nebraska native from Verdigre, Kucera received an Associate’s degree in English Education from Northeast Community College, Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Wayne State College, and English language teaching certificate through the Cambridge University in Prague, Czech Republic. In addition to writing, her interests include history, music, art and traveling— especially via foot, horseback, canoe and kayak. She is currently the Executive Director at the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site in Bancroft.

Nebraska Powwows: A Celebration of Nations


Just as the sun pulses over the horizon to signal the dawn, the drum beat heralds the dancers to rise and move towards the center of the powwow circle. Led by honored elders, veterans and tribal members with flags and eagle staffs, the grand entry begins and the grounds soon fill with the vivid colors of intricately woven regalia. The men lead the lively procession, wearing horn caps and headdresses, porcupine hair roaches, feathered bustles, bone breastplates, beaded cuffs, buckskin …

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Monowi: The Village of One

People have come from all over the world to drink coffee with Elsie Eiler in Monowi, Nebraska. Not only does she own and operate the only business in the village —working six days a week as a cook and bartender at the local tavern — the great-grandmother also serves as mayor, village board president, librarian and local historian. Why does she do it? As the lone resident in the nation’s smallest incorporated village, she is the only one who can. …

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Winter Counts

Before Plains Indian tribes developed the complete written form of their languages, oral tradition was used extensively to preserve tribal histories. Pictorial accounts painted on bison hides, also known as a “winter count,” include symbols arranged chronologically. Each image marks a single year and depicts a collective, memorable event of the tribe.   For the Lakota people, a year of the winter count measured from first snowfall to first snowfall. Oglala Lakota visionary Nicholas Black Elk referred to his December …

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A Turn Through Time


Associate Editor Amy Kucera takes “A Turn Through Time” at the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum, as seen in the December 2014 issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

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Turning 10: The Missouri River Outdoor Expo

More than 52,000 visitors in two days. Nearly 1,000 volunteers. Over 100 hands-on exhibits. Sixteen trolleys. Three locations in one park. Two world-record holders. One decade. As the Missouri River Outdoor Expo reaches a number of milestones, perhaps the most notable is the countless memories created each year at Ponca State Park. Located along the Missouri River near Ponca, the park transforms into a busy city – Nebraska’s fourth largest during the event – accommodating thousands of outdoor enthusiasts of …

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Good Life, Great Rides: Nebraska Horse Camp and Trails

From a moonlit ride along the riverside, to a deep canyon descent into forested bluffs, witnessing the beauty of Nebraska from the saddle is an exhilarating experience. With accommodations for both the two- and four-legged, the following locations offer a glimpse of the myriad of riding opportunities to be had throughout the state, which include diverse terrain, unique wildlife viewing opportunities and the wide horizon lines that make Nebraska worth riding. Remember, trail and camp availability is subject to change. …

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New Tree School

“We need to find a tree that’s serious about this,” Jack Phillips said jokingly while collecting acorns last fall along a wooded trail outlining Pioneers Park in Lincoln. The bur oaks he walked beneath are tall and magnificent – and becoming increasingly rare. “The old bur oak is on the edge all the time,” Phillips said. “We should treat the species as if it were endangered, looking at the age of populations now.” The collected acorns, minus the ones nibbled …

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Salt Creek Jewels

A fog rising through the Salt Creek valley led me quietly out the door and down the driveway, past a series of dirt road intersections and directly to the gate of the Little Salt Fork Marsh Preserve near Raymond, just in time to greet the dawn. It was the barbed-wire spun in silk that first made me stop to consider the hidden creatures residing here that revealed a soft touch in sharp contrast to the tamed highway cutting through the creek.     As …

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Crazy Horse Memorial Ride

From a humble beginning with a handful of riders to the largest gathering of the Lakota horse nation, the Crazy Horse Memorial Ride is a growing tribute to Oglala Lakota war chief Crazy Horse, as well as warriors of yesterday and today. “The ride is in honor of all veterans,” said Bamm Brewer, ride organizer from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. From Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, participants of the 17th annual event traveled to Chadron on Monday to camp at the Dawes County Fairgrounds. On Tuesday morning, …

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Nebraska Powwow Calendar 2014

Fort Robinson Intertribal Gathering Powwow, Crawford – June 13-15 Located on the parade grounds of the historic Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, the 15th annual Intertribal Gathering Powwow is hosted by the Friends of the Intertribal Powwow at Fort Robinson. Isanti Dakota Wacipi, Santee – June 21-22 The Santee Sioux Tribe host an annual traditional powwow with contest specials near the town of Santee. Winnebago Homecoming Celebration Powwow, Winnebago – July 23-25 The oldest memorial powwow in the nation, the Winnebago Homecoming Celebration honors …

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