The Modern West

The Modern West is a rich collection of news and cultural stories from the Mountain West. Catch our monthly digest of stories on The Modern West podcast.

Supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

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Taylar Dawn Stagner

How the University of Wyoming hopes to increase Native American student enrollment, and how public school curricula represent indigenous peoples.

Mary Beth Coyne


Last February, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort launched a new extreme skiing and snowboarding competition. 18 men and seven women competed to be crowned the King and Queen of Corbet's. At the awards ceremony, the top male won $5,000 more than the top female finisher. The incident drew attention to the fact that there's nothing in place to guarantee equal prizes in big mountain freeskiing.

Caroline Ballard

The population in Tie Siding, Wyoming is technically zero - it's basically just a post office that serves homes and ranches in this part of southeast Wyoming. Even though the population is tiny, there is not one but two popular mystery writers living there. And they're married to each other.

Erik Neumann

2018 was an interesting year for our region. From elections and population growth to an evolving debate about public lands use, the Mountain West News Bureau tackled all kinds of stories. We took a look back.

Courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

The Draper Natural History Museumwas founded in 1998. The founding curator, Dr. Charles Preston, had a surprise collection waiting for him when he arrived.

 


There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


Holly Daverin

Kids from rural communities still have a hard time getting to see the dentist. But that's especially on the Wind River Reservation. Lack of reliable transportation and long distances into town can make it hard to get to town for a checkup. 

Kamila Kudelska

On a snowy and foggy morning in Jackson Hole, Brian Glaspell, manager of the National Elk Refuge, walked toward a green trash can.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

It’s well known that President Theodore Roosevelt helped shape the American West as we know it today. But the curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum, Jeremy Johnston, said Roosevelt, along with Buffalo Bill, also promoted the romance and myth of the American West.


NPS Climate Change Response

As the urgency around climate change increases, here’s a look at how the West is reacting.

Courtesy of the Plains Indian Museum.

During the Reservation Era, roughly from the 1870s to the 1920s, Native Americans were required to move onto allotments of land. Rebecca West, the curator of the Plains Indian Museum, said it was a time when the United States government followed a policy of extermination and assimilation. 


Wikipedia Commons

It's normal for librarians at the McCracken Research Library to find postcards, photos and other pieces of paper tucked away in a book. But it isn't every day that you find a postcard written to the famous painter Charles Russell.

 

  

Derived from Park County Road Plat, Park County Public Works Department

Sportsmen and women have to be really careful to make sure they are not trespassing on public land. A new report finds that Wyoming has the most landlocked public land in the West at 3.05 million acres. A recent decision by Park County Commissioners could have added another 160.

OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

The last few years have brought revelation after revelation about just how long and complex the migration routes are for Wyoming's elk, pronghorn and mule deer. Everyone involved in wildlife agrees these routes need special protections. But there hasn't been a comprehensive set of maps showing this maze of routes zigzagging all over the state. Until now.

Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with Matt Kauffman and Emilene Ostlind, two of the editors of Wild Migrations: Atlas Of Wyoming's Ungulates.

Public Domain

Ranchers and farmers living in the Mountain West are vulnerable to all kinds of things—drought, fluctuating crop prices, trade wars—and in part because of those things - depression and suicide. But there's some help out there, from an unlikely source.


JASMINE BELL

Hoop Dancer Jasmine Bell of the Crow Creek Dakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota has danced for Mohamad Ali and for all the presidential first ladies. Even the actor Kevin Costner. 

Melodie Edwards

The sun is coming up lavender and peach as we drive out onto Wyoming's eastern plains. Defenders of Wildlife's Chamois Anderson is taking me out in search of prairie dogs.

By Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

The conflict over whether Yellowstone grizzly bears should be off or on Endangered Species Act protections has been an ongoing controversy for years. Even after a judge put grizzlies back under federal protections this Fall, the debate continues. Those in favor of the judge's decision and those against are suspicious of each other's motives.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, USA; Gift in Memory of Hal Tate from Naoma Tate and the Family of Hal Tate, 9.05

Back in 2015, when Karen McWhorter just started her position as curator of the Whitney Western Art Museum, she was interviewed for a magazine.

One of the questions: what was her favorite painting in the Whitney’s collection? 

Hunter Old Elk

For the past 15 years, the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West welcomes high school students from the St. Labre Indian School located in Montana. In two days, the students pick objects from the museum’s archive and learn the process of creating an exhibit. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska spoke with St. Labre teachers, Philippe Franquelinand Cecilia Thex on the exposure a program like this gives high school students.

The Modern West 40: More People, Less Affordable Housing

Nov 20, 2018
Bob Beck

The Mountain West's population boom is putting a squeeze on affordable housing. What's being done address the issue?

Taylar Dawn Stagner


Across the country, Native American students are severely underrepresented in higher education . Only 16 percent of Native Americans have a bachelor's degree. That's compared to 42 percent of white students. But a collective effort — that spans from the Wind River Reservation to the University of Wyoming — is helping to close that achievement gap.

Jordan Dresser

A new museum installation called "Arapaho Roots" is opening November 17 in Colorado at the Museum of Boulder. The pieces will be animated Arapaho stories put up on screens throughout the museum. 

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis made a visit to Wyoming. He was there to witness the formal turnover of the Bells of Balangiga.

Free Creative Commons Finance Images via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Wyoming is known for having one of the largest gender wage gaps in the country, but a comprehensive look at what men and women actually earn in the state hadn't been done in years. So in 2017, state representatives Marti Halverson and Cathy Connolly teamed up to propose a study to better understand what was really going on. The study was conducted by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, and was released to the public and presented to legislators in early October. Now, lawmakers will have to decide what to do with the information.

Courtesy of Cody Firearms Museum

Throughout history, it was common for royalty to present another noblemen or royalty with a firearm. The gift usually symbolized peace between countries or two parties.

The parents sat stiffly; some had clearly been crying. Their children, largely oblivious, scribbled with crayons on the carpeted floor of a Denver immigration court. In a matter of months, the judge before them will make 71 life-changing decisions.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice instructed ten immigration courts around the country to speed up cases of families seeking asylum on U.S. soil. In Denver, that directive is being carried out in a series of group hearings, designed to decide cases in less than a year.

The United States has a grim history when it comes to our indigenous people, from the multiple massacres of native men, women and children to Indian boarding schools where native children were taken from their families and in many cases physically and sexually abused. For the most part, this history isn’t taught in our public schools; neither is indigenous culture. But that’s changing, and the Mountain West is on board.

Public Domain

This time of year, is hunting season in Wyoming, and the state is known for its prime elk hunting. But after a series of conflicts with grizzly bears, outfitters and guides say there needs to be better grizzly management in the state.

LUKE RUNYON / KUNC

The temperature is hovering right around 90 degrees the day Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colorado. The water looks so inviting, a cool reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in we'd be electrocuted.

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