Something to chew on: Indiana emblems fall short of South Dakota’s Black Hills gold standard

A quick scan of the active bills in front of Indiana’s legislators does not turn up any proposed legislation that would add to Indiana’s current collection of state emblems.

How to transform Indiana into South Dakota in three easy steps.

State emblems include symbols like the state rock (limestone), the state song (“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”) and the state insect (Say’s Firefly pyractomena angulata). Eleven different Indiana state emblems are listed out in IC Article 2 of Title 1 of the state code.

That’s not many compared to South Dakota.

Wait up. Why should the Hoosier state look to South Dakota as a standard of comparison for its state emblems?

For one thing, South Dakota bears a geographic resemblance to Indiana. To see this, start with a map of Indiana and drop it from a suitable height. Let it land on a hard slab of limestone. The impact will flatten out the bottom a bit. Now rotate it 90 degrees counter clockwise. Look at that, now you’re in South Dakota.

Despite the uncanny geographic resemblance, South Dakota has way more official state symbols than Indiana—in fact, twice as many. The 22 state emblems of South Dakota are listed out in SDCL Title 1 Chapter 6 of South Dakota’s codified law.

South Dakota has so many state emblems that the legislature has the luxury to consider altering state emblems that were established several years ago.

In the current session, HB 1156 has been introduced to change the official state instrument—from the fiddle to the accordion:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to designate the accordion as the official state musical instrument.
Section 1. That § 1-6-16.3 be amended to read:
1-6-16.3. The fiddle accordion is hereby designated as the official state musical instrument of the State of South Dakota.

On Jan. 28 the bill was referred to the House State Affairs Committee. The bill’s progress can easily be tracked on the State Legislative Research Council’s website.

Term limits mean that sponsors of the 1989 fiddle-favoring bill might not be around to block the change. But it’s no sure thing that the squeezebox boosters will win out.

Last year, the enactment of chislic as South Dakota’s official state “nosh” had to overcome some mild objections from the jerky lobby.

The Pierre Capital Journal editorialized in a critical way on the chislic bill:

[O]ne of the great failings of SB 96 is that it doesn’t define what chislic is. There is, in fact, a significant, often violent debate over whether beef can be chislic. It can’t, that’s called frying steak tips. We all know this.

Chislic is lamb or mutton. Always has been, always will be. But again, SB 96 doesn’t make this clear.

Full disclosure: I worked for the Cap Journal as a reporter at the time. I was not a member of the editorial board.

I’m not sure the Cap Journal’s purist view on chislic is common. In my couple of years of chislic eating in South Dakota, I don’t think I was even once served chislic made from lamb or mutton. It was always beef.

That’s the same approach to chislic taken by Indiana University Dining services. I learned this fact about the food served to Indiana University students through the miracle of Twitter. It’s a social media platform known for fostering peaceful, nonpartisan exchanges of information on topics like deep-fried meat:

IU Dining @IUDining
Replying to @chronicallydave @elgallo7
Hi, Dave. I checked with our dining manager, and the chislic is prepared with beef. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions!
1:09pm · 28 Jan 2019

Based on my own chislic-eating experience, I think any IU students from South Dakota who might eat Indiana University’s beef chislic would find it a welcome reminder of home.

How many IU students come from South Dakota? The South Dakota Board of Regents makes that information easy to find, by publishing college matriculation data.

Based on SDBOR numbers, from 2011 to 2016, three high school grads from South Dakota enrolled at IU Bloomington—one each from Sioux Falls Lincoln, Sioux Falls Christian, and Watertown high schools.

Anyhow, South Dakota state legislators have made it easy for IU Dining services to find a way to make those three South Dakotans feel at home: Serve them South Dakota’s official state nosh.

But it would be hard for the dining manager at, say, the University of South Dakota to give their Hoosier students that kind of comfort food. Because Indiana doesn’t have an official state nosh.

Indiana legislators should consider addressing the state nosh gap, among others.

For a comprehensive look at all such gaps, I’ve included a handy table below. Some highlights include: a state dessert (persimmon pudding?); a state drink (apple cider?); and a state sport (basketball?).

South Dakota legislators should not rest on their current numerical advantage. Indiana has some state emblems that South Dakota should consider adding.

Like a state rifle. Indiana’s official state rifle is the “Grouseland Rifle” made by Colonel John Small of Vincennes, Indiana, between 1803 and 1812.  Why doesn’t South Dakota have a state rifle?

Indiana also has a state airplane, the Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt, which was produced in Evansville, Indiana, from 1942 to 1945 and was commonly known as the “Indiana Warbird.”

South Dakota might consider making its official airplane the TBD Devastator, which was the plane flown by war hero Lt. Commander John C. Waldron at the Battle of Midway. Another choice might be the F4F Wildcat, the plane flown during World War II by Joe Foss, who went on to serve as governor of the state from 1955 to 1959.

Still, on balance it’s the Indiana state legislature that has more work to do to make up its official state emblem gap.

South Dakota has official state jewelry, for heaven’s sake: Black Hills gold. Maybe Indiana could tap geodes as official jewelry? They’re common in the southern third of the state.

Emblem IN SD
airplane Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt: (1) produced in Evansville, Indiana, from 1942 to 1945; and (2) commonly known as the “Indiana Warbird”;
animal coyote
bird cardinal (richmondena cardinalis cardinalis) ring-neck pheasant
bread fry bread
dessert kuchen
drink milk (lac vaccum)
fish walleye (stizostedion vitreum)
fishing museum Museum of Wildlife, Science, and Industry located in the city of Webster
flower peony (paeonie) American pasque flower (pulsatilla hirsutissima) with the motto “I Lead.”
fossil triceratops
gemstone Fairburn agate
grass Western wheat grass (agropyron smithii)
hall of fame South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain
insect Say’s Firefly (pyractomena angulata) the species of firefly first described by Thomas Say of New Harmony, Indiana, who is known as the father of American entomology, honey bee (apis mellifera L)
jewelry Black Hills gold
language English
musical instrument fiddle
nickname The Mount Rushmore State
nosh chislic
poem poem of Arthur Franklin Mapes, Kendallville, Indiana, “Indiana”
rifle Grouseland Rifle made by Colonel John Small of Vincennes, Indiana, between 1803 and 1812
river Wabash River
rock limestone rose quartz
soil Houdek soil (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic typic argiustolls)
song “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” words and music by Paul Dresser “Hail! South Dakota” having words and music written by Deecort Hammitt
sport rodeo
tree tulip tree (liriodendron tulipifera) The Black Hills Spruce (picea glauca densata)