Bismarck State College and its partners have postponed the Dakota Bison Symposium scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.
“The uncertainties related to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic have caused us to hit the pause button on what is a very exciting symposium,” said BSC President Doug Jensen.
Leading into the month, many of the national speakers notified the symposium organizers saying that because of the pandemic they could not travel to Bismarck for the event. Initially, arrangements were being made to bring them to the conference virtually, but it was decided that a virtual format would take away from the impact of the symposium.
“One of the exciting things about symposia is getting to rub elbows with these national speakers. Within the last few weeks, we’ve lost that aspect of the conference,” said Jensen.
Partners have also expressed concerns about putting attendees on buses for the tours of southwest North Dakota, as well as asking volunteers, many elderly, to host visits planned on the bus tours.
“This is really an unfortunate turn of events, but with the current surge of COVID in our state, it’s difficult to ignore the facts,” said Dakota Bison Symposium Planning Committee Chair Dr. Larry C. Skogen. “We postponed this event last year because of COVID and who would have thought we would be in the same situation this year?”
“This is a really important event so we are rescheduling it for May 2022,” said Erik Holland, education curator for the North Dakota Historical Society, a primary partner in the event.
By next spring, organizers hope that they can hold an incredibly safe, secure symposium on the BSC campus, complete with the bus tours to prehistoric and historic bison sites in southwest North Dakota. The third day of the symposium was a tribal leaders’ convocation at United Tribes Technical College. That event will also be planned for next spring.
“Part of the funding for this symposium is from the National Endowment for the Arts and they have been very understanding and have allowed us to postpone this event,” said BSC Dean of Continuing Education Sara Vollmer.
For questions, concerns, or to register for the Dakota Bison Symposium to be held May 5-7, 2022, please visit bscdakotabison.com or contact Continuing Education at 701-224-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.