Q: “What does OAHE mean?”

Q: “What does O.A.H.E. stand for?”

Q: “Where is Oahe?”

These are questions we will often hear outside of central South Dakota.

A: “Oahe” [ō wä’ hē] is a Sioux Indian word meaning “a foundation,” or
“a place to stand on.” 

JFK remarks at the dedication of the Oahe Dam in Pierre, SD on August 17, 1962

The Oahe Dam is located four miles north of Pierre on the Missouri River.  It stretches 1.8 miles across the river and is 245 feet high.The dam serves many purposes, including hydroelectric power, flood control, improvement of navigation, and irrigation.

“The human story within the Oahe area is one of change—Woodland peoples, followed in turn by village farmers, by equestrian hunters, and finally by a tide of explorers, traders, soldiers and ranchers. Each brought something new and each played a part in the shaping of the region. This has been a continuing process. The construction of Oahe Dam and the creation of its great reservoir is just one more step, bringing new ideas, new technologies and new problems in its turn. Viewed in the context of what has gone before, it marks the beginning of another major phase in the long history of the Plains.” – Source U.S. National Parks Service

Oahe Dam Evening | Ashely Lieberman Hughes Photo: Oahe Dam Evening | Ashely Lieberman Hughes

Lake Oahe, Photo by: Mackenzie Osadchuk

More Oahe history can be found by clicking the links below:
Discovering Lewis & Clark
South Dakota Traveler
Oahe Dam
Oahe Chapel

Oahe Area

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