Russ Gifford
Connecting Regional History with National History... by Telling the Stories of Individuals

Need a Speaker?

Upcoming Talks

Sample Work


About Russ

Connect with Russ

I am always looking for new places to present my talks.



Upcoming Talks

Sioux City and the Farm Strike Uprising – July 15, 2021 – Sioux City Public Museum

Photograph Courtesy of the Sioux City Public Museum

Iowa under Martial Law? It happened here! The Farm Strike in Sioux City and open revolts in nearby Le Mars and Primghar in 1932 drew national attention. Was the American Experiment in popular Democracy at risk? In this talk, we will relive the moment when Iowa saw troops manning machine guns on court house lawns.

What drove the farmers to strike in 1932? What were their goals? What did it achieve? Revisit the time when Iowa, and perhaps the American democracy teetered on the brink of anarchy. The Farm Strike of 1932 is a riveting story in Iowa history, with national consequences. It is a moment in American history unlike any other.

July 15 at Noon

Sioux City Public Museum

4th and Nebraska

Sioux City Iowa

Coming in TBA:

Traveler's Tales: Riverboats on the Missouri, 1850-1879 - To Be Announced

Experience traveling along the Missouri river in the wild days of the 1850s to 1870s via first hand accounts. Meet the gamblers and grafters that occasionally traveled the riverboats, along with doctors and farmers, teachers and tradesmen. No less than Mark Twain traveled by steamboat on the Missouri at least a time or two. Hear their impressions as we see the experience through their eyes! Join Russ Gifford for this trip back in time when steamboats traveled the Missouri! 

(Dates and Location to be Announced!)

Coming in September:

Iowa's French Connection - TBA - WITCC Sioux City

Schools teach us the English colonists swept from the east to the west in the settlement of America. That story is far too narrow. The Spanish and the French, as well as the British, originally explored and settled the North American continent. Each had far different goals for their settlements, and each had their moment, and set into place some far reaching customs and ideas. Their interactions with the natives of those regions left their mark.

The French were Iowa's first non-native explorers, but of great significance is the fact it was the French that settled the Siouxland region.

See the important differences that made in Native interaction when Russ Gifford examines "Iowa's French Connection."


Lifelong Learning, Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Avenue

Sioux City Iowa

Coming in October:

The Prehistory of the Natives of the Southwest  - TBA - WITCC Sioux City

Learn the story of the people behind the Pueblos, the Great Houses, and the Cliff Dwellings. Who were they? Where did they come from?  And where did they go? We will hear first hand accounts of what early explorers thought when they stumbled on these abandoned great houses, larger than any building most had experienced. We will also discuss the construction and how they got the materials to build them, and why they were built where they were. Beyond the buildings, which remain awe inspiring nearly 10 centuries later, we will also investigate the vast trade network that united these people - and their possible connection to other native groups of the era. What have scientists determined in the past few decades about the inhabitants of these regions, and their disappearance? 

(Dates still being finalized.)

An early photo of a cliff dwelling, from 1874. Photographed by William Henry Jackson.

Chaco Canyon (Session 1) - TBA

Mesa Verdi and the Four Corners Region (Session 2) - TBA

Lifelong Learning, Western Iowa Tech Community College

4511 Stone Park

Sioux City Iowa

Looking for a speaker that holds audiences spellbound? Attend one of Russ Gifford's many classes!

       “His ratings were the highest for our entire season of 12 workshops, and far eclipsed those for the previous season. He created a fantastic class, and people left feeling empowered.” -- Dr. Lynn Barteck, Tri State Graduate Center

Why Hire Russ Gifford?| Connect with Russ Gifford