Like her father before her, Bette Husted grew up on stolen land. The bench land above the Clearwater River in north-central Idaho had been a home for the Nez Perce Indians until the Dawes Act opened their reservation to settlement in 1895. As a child on the family homestead, Husted felt the presence of the Nez Perce: "But they were always just out of sight, like a smoky shadow behind me that I couldn't quite turn around quickly enough to catch."
Above the Clearwater chronicles her family's history on the land, revealing their joys and sorrows, their triumphs and tragedies. In a series of graceful and moving essays, Husted traces this intimate history, from her Cold War childhood to her struggles as a parent and finally to her life as a woman and teacher in the rural West. Her family's stories echo those of countless other families in the American West: the conflicts with guns, the struggles over land ownership and water rights, the isolation of women, the separations by race and class, the family secrets of mental illness and suicide.
With a powerful, poetic voice, Husted illuminates the tangled relationship between the history of a particular place and the history of the families who inhabit that place over time. As Above the Clearwater explores one family's search for a home on land taken from its original inhabitants, it quietly asks all readers to examine their own homes in the same light.
A storyteller and avid fly fisherman, Jeff Metcalf is, for compelling personal reasons, an enhanced observer of the human condition, who finds himself often in the streams of the American West. Not only rivers run through his essays, his cancer does too. But so do camaraderie, adventures, reveling in nature and outdoor devotions, and the sheer bliss of focused engagement with the fish and the cast. Metcalf’s keenly observed companions are river guides, small-town locals, academics, and other city folk, all like him among those who run to the river for solace and joy.
These essays are much more than fish stories; they reveal the community and communion of fishing and the bonds to place the author nurtured through it. Whether he recalls carousing and tale-swapping with friends or excellence found through the challenge of the cast, Metcalf’s words, sometimes roiling and turbulent, sometimes calm and reflective, like a western river, vividly convey the pull of the steelhead and the fight for survival. Whether or not you fish, Metcalf’s sharp-eyed, open and honest look at life will draw you in.
"These waters have been my home, and I fish them more than most. In truth, they have saved my life on more than a few occasions. I seek refuge in the quiet solitude of rivers, and in dark hours of my life—including this particular year—I need desperately to be fly-fishing." —From the book
In the 1990s, Ed Galindo, a high school science teacher on the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho, took a team of Shoshone-Bannock students first to Johnson Space Center in Texas and then to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These students had submitted a project to a competitive NASA program that was usually intended for college students—and they earned a spot to see NASA astronauts test out their experiment in space. The students designed and built the project themselves: a system to mix phosphate and water in space to create a fertilizer that would aid explorers in growing food on other planets.
In Children of the Stars, Galindo relates his experience with this first team and with successive student teams, who continued to participate in NASA programs over the course of a decade. He discusses the challenges of teaching American Indian students, from the practical limits of a rural reservation school to the importance of respecting and incorporating Indigenous knowledge systems. In describing how he had to earn the trust of his students to truly be successful as their teacher, Galindo also touches on the complexities of community belonging and understanding; although Indigenous himself, Galindo is not a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes and was still an outsider who had as much to learn as the students.
Children of the Stars is the story of students and a teacher, courage and hope. Written in a conversational style, it’s an accessible story about students who were supported and educated in culturally relevant ways and so overcame the limitations of an underfunded reservation school to reach great heights.
Mexican Americans make up the largest minority in Idaho, yet they seemingly live in a different world from the dominant Anglo population, and because of pervasive stereotypes and exclusive policies, their participation in the community's social, economic, and political life is continually impeded.
This unique ethnographic study of a small Idaho community with a large Hispanic population examines many dimensions of the impact race relations have on everyday life for rural Mexican Americans.
In this volume, brothers Mark and John Bieter chronicle three generations of Basque presence in Idaho from 1890 to the present, resulting in an engaging story that begins with a few solitary sheepherders and follows their evolution into the prominent ethnic community of today.
Even though race influenced how Americans envisioned, represented, and shaped the American West, discussions of its history devalue the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. In this lyrical history of marginalized peoples in Idaho, Robert T. Hayashi views the West from a different perspective by detailing the ways in which they shaped the western landscape and its meaning.
As an easterner, researcher, angler, and third-generation Japanese American traveling across the contemporary Idaho landscape—where his grandfather died during internment during World War II—Hayashi reconstructs a landscape that lured emigrants of all races at the same time its ruling forces were developing cultured processes that excluded nonwhites. Throughout each convincing and compelling chapter, he searches for the stories of dispossessed minorities as patiently as he searches for trout.
Using a wide range of materials that include memoirs, oral interviews, poetry, legal cases, letters, government documents, and even road signs, Hayashi illustrates how Thomas Jefferson’s vision of an agrarian, all-white, and democratic West affected the Gem State’s Nez Perce, Chinese, Shoshone, Mormon, and particularly Japanese residents. Starting at the site of the Corps of Discovery’s journey into Idaho, he details the ideological, aesthetic, and material manifestations of these intertwined notions of race and place. As he ?y-?shes Idaho’s fabled rivers and visits its historical sites and museums, Hayashi reads the contemporary landscape in light of this evolution.
A History of Gold Dredging in Idaho tells the story of a revolution in placer mining—and its subsequent impact on the state of Idaho—from its inception in the early 1880s until its demise in the early 1960s. Idaho was the nation’s fourth-leading producer of dredged gold after 1910 and therefore provides an excellent lens through which to observe the practice and history of gold dredging.
Author Clark Spence focuses on the two most important types of dredges in the state—the bucket-line dredge and the dragline dredge—and describes their financing, operation, problems, and effect on the state and environment. These dredges made it possible to work ground previously deemed untouchable because bedrock where gold collected could now be reached. But they were also highly destructive to the environment. As these huge machines floated along, they dumped debris that harmed the streams and destroyed wildlife habitat, eventually prompting state regulations and federal restoration of some of the state’s crippled waterways.
Providing a record of Idaho’s dredging history for the first time, this book is a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of Western mining, its technology, and its overall development as a major industry of the twentieth century.
This book is an primary text for the Shoshoni language that provides basic information on the phonology and grammar of the language. While the book emphasizes the Fort Hall dialect, it also addresses other dialects. Primarily conceived as a college or high school-level textbook, it is also an accessible introduction for anyone interested in the language. Readers will find useful background information about the Shoshoni people, and a history of Fort Hall into the present day. Each chapter contains exercises for the student, and sections on language and culture that discuss such topics as gift giving, presentation of self, eye contact, and other non-verbal behavior.
Listen to the open source audio companion to this book:
First held in 1987, Jaialdi is the United States’s largest Basque festival and takes place in Boise every five years. Through vivid photography and a recounting of personal interviews with event founders and organizers, Jaialdi: A Celebration of Basque Culture provides a stunning account of how the ancient traditions of these industrious people are showcased through the activities and events of Jaialdi.
Organized and staffed entirely by volunteers, Jaialdi attracts 35,000 to 50,000 visitors from around the world. Attendees enjoy festivities featuring Basque culture, including dancing, music, food, and competitive feats of strength. Photographer Jon C. Hodgson captures the spirit and merriment of the festival in vivid detail, taking readers on a journey into the heart of Basque culture. Coupled with author Nancy Zubiri’s observations from her own attendance at nearly every Jaialdi since 1987, the book reveals how Boise’s Basque community has committed to host the festival and why the celebration remains so popular today.
The Basque diaspora to the United States began in the late 1800s when these determined immigrants came seeking a new life filled with opportunities. Many were sheepherders who adapted to American life while maintaining their ties to the traditions of the Basque Country. Jaialdi: A Celebration of Basque Culture illuminates how this festival honors these traditions and captures the essence of the ancient Basque people, who are preserving their heritage while embracing life in the twenty-first-century West.
Leaded is a timely and deeply researched account of one of the largest environmental disasters in western US history. It examines the origin, evolution, and causes of the harmful environmental and human health effects caused by mining operations in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Mining District—the “Silver Valley”—from 1885 to 1981. During that period, district mines produced over $5 billion worth of lead, silver, and zinc. The Bunker Hill Company dominated business and community activities in the district as owners and operators of the largest mine, lead smelter, and zinc plant.
During the first half of the twentieth century, industrial mining operations caused severe environmental damage to area waterways and lands from releases of sulfur gases, lead, and other toxic metals. Damaging human health effects were evident soon after the smelter opened in 1917, when Bunker Hill workers suffered from lead poisoning. Despite the obvious devastation, due to the influence of the mine and lead industry in state and federal politics, as well as scientific uncertainties about pollution effects, no effective federal laws regulating mining and smelting operations were passed until the 1970s.
In 1974, uncontrolled Bunker Hill lead smelter emissions led to the worst community lead exposure problem in the United States and resulted in a widespread lead poisoning epidemic of Silver Valley children. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency ultimately mandated federal air lead standards. At the same time, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health passed national standards reducing allowable occupational lead exposures. Bunker Hill could not meet the new standards, which was a major factor in forcing the company to close, leaving behind a contaminated geographic area that was classified at the time as the largest Superfund site in the United States.
Leaded will resonate with anyone who is concerned about the long-term effects of industrial pollution, as well as students of environmental history, western US history, mining history, environmental ethics, and environmental law.
The Coeur d’Alenes, a twenty-five by ten mile portion of the Idaho Panhandle, is home to one of the most productive mining districts in world history. Historically the globe’s richest silver district and also one of the nation’s biggest lead and zinc producers, the Coeur d’Alenes’ legacy also includes environmental pollution on an epic scale. For decades local waters were fouled with tailings from the mining district’s more than one hundred mines and mills and the air surrounding Kellogg, Idaho was laced with lead and other toxic heavy metals issuing from the Bunker Hill Company’s smelter. The same industrial processes that damaged the environment and harmed human health, however, also provided economic sustenance to thousands of local residents and a string of proud, working-class communities. Living with Lead endeavors to untangle the costs and benefits of a century of mining, milling, and smelting in a small western city and the region that surrounds it.
Mapping Identity traces the formation of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation in northern Idaho from the introduction of the Jesuit notion of "reduction" in the 1840s to the finalization of reservation boundaries in the 1890s. Using Indian Agency records, congressional documents, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records, Jesuit missionary reports, and tribal accounts, historian Laura Woodworth-Ney argues that the reservation-making process for the Coeur d'Alenes reflected more than just BIA policy objectives. It was also the result of a complex interplay of Jesuit mission goals, the Schitsu'umsh chief Andrew Seltice's assimilationist policy, and political pressure from local non-Indians. Woodworth-Ney concludes that in creating the reservation, BIA officials and tribal leaders mapped boundaries not only of territory, but also of tribal identity.
Mapping Identity builds on the growing body of literature that presents a more complex picture of federal policy, native identity, and the creation of Indian reservations in the western United States. It will be important to readers interested in western U.S. history, legal and administrative history, Native American history, and interior Northwest history.
Any landscape has an unseen component: a subjective component of experience, memory, and narrative which people familiar with the place understand to be an integral part of its geography but which outsiders may not suspect the existence of—unless they listen and read carefully. This invisible landscape is make visible though stories, and these stories are the focus of this engrossing book.
Traveling across the invisible landscape in which we imaginatively dwell, Kent Ryden—himself a most careful listener and reader—asks the following questions. What categories of meaning do we read into our surroundings? What forms of expression serve as the most reliable maps to understanding those meanings? Our sense of any place, he argues, consists of a deeply ingrained experiential knowledge of its physical makeup; an awareness of its communal and personal history; a sense of our identity as being inextricably bound up with its events and ways of life; and an emotional reaction, positive or negative, to its meanings and memories.
Ryden demonstrates that both folk and literary narratives about place bear a striking thematic and stylistic resemblance. Accordingly, Mapping the Invisible Landscape examines both kinds of narratives. For his oral materials, Ryden provides an in-depth analysis of narratives collected in the Coeur d'Alene mining district in the Idaho panhandle; for his consideration of written works, he explores the “essay of place,” the personal essay which takes as its subject a particular place and a writer's relationship to that place.
Drawing on methods and materials from geography, folklore, and literature, Mapping the Invisible Landscape offers a broadly interdisciplinary analysis of the way we situate ourselves imaginatively in the landscape, the way we inscribe its surface with stories. Written in an extremely engaging style, this book will lead its readers to an awareness of the vital role that a sense of place plays in the formation of local cultures, to an understanding of the many-layered ways in which place interacts with individual lives, and to renewed appreciation of the places in their own lives and landscapes.
In Mountains of Memory, seasoned wilderness dweller Don Scheese charts a long season of watching for and fighting fires in Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness&151the largest federal wilderness area in the mainland United States. An inspiring tale of self-discovery,Mountains of Memory paints a complex portrait of the natural, institutional, and historical forces that have shaped the great forested landscapes of the American West.
A student of nature writing as well as a fire lookout with over a decade of experience, Scheese recounts his life at the top of the world, along with daring adventures such as backpacking and mountaineering in the Bighorn Crags and kayaking down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. All the while, he touches upon the mysterious and powerful realities of the wilderness around him and stunning dawns visible within the glass cage perched on a 9,000-foot mountain, stirring flashes of lightning visible all around the dark landscape as the radio crackles with reports of strikes observed and fires spotted, long-awaited trips down the mountain to civilization for cold beer and hot pizza.
In the tradition of Edward Abbey and Gary Snyder, Don Scheese offers readers a meditation on the meaning and value of wilderness at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Lake Rose Davis is the only child of former hippies who settled in a small Idaho mill town in the late 1960s. Her parents' eccentric lifestyle makes Lake an outcast among the children of the town, and the unspoken tensions among the adults of her parents' social universe puzzle and disturb her. She ponders over her mother's infidelities and the mysterious resentment between her mother and her grandparents far away in St. Louis, and between her mother and her aunt, a conventional career woman relentlessly in search of love.
As a teenager, Lake joins her grandparents in Missouri and spends her youth seeking answers to her questions about the past, trying to understand the complex pattern of betrayals that shaped it. Only when she herself becomes party to a betrayal as devastating as any committed by her mother does Lake begin to understand.
Passanante writes with a keen eye for the details of behavior that reveal the yearnings and fears beneath the surface. She shows us that the path to understanding is never a smooth one, and that love is often far more complex than we can imagine. Western Literature Series.
Once in a while, a book comes along that redefines the concept of family. Frank McCourt did it with Angela’s Ashes; Annie Dillard did it with An American Childhood. In Nobody Rich or Famous, author Richard Shelton (b. 1933) immerses us in the hardscrabble lives of his Boise, Idaho, clan during the 1930s and ’40s. Using a framework of journals, road trips, and artful storytelling, Shelton traces three generations of women. We meet his mother, Hazel, a model of western respectability, who carefully dresses in her finest clothes before walking into a bar and emptying a loaded handgun in the general direction of her husband. We meet his great-grandmother, Josephine, who homesteads a sod shanty and dies too young on the Kansas prairie. We follow his grandmother, Charlotte, as she grows from a live-in servant girl to a fiddle-playing schoolteacher who burns through two marriages before taking up with the iceman.
Known for his storytelling, Shelton crafts a tale of poverty and its attendant sorrows: alcoholism, neglect, and abuse. But the tenacity of the human spirit shines through. This is an epic tale of Steinbeckian proportions, but it is not fiction. This is memoir in its finest tradition, illuminating today’s cultural chasm between the haves and have-nots. In the author’s words, Nobody Rich or Famous is “the story of a family and how it got that way.”
It’s a place of big skies and big fires, big burns like those of 1910 and 1988 that riveted national attention. Conflagrations like those of 1934 and 2007 that reformed national policy. Blowups like that in Mann Gulch that shaped the literature of American fire. Big fires mostly hidden in the backcountry like the Fitz Creek and Howler fires that inspired the practice of managed wildfires. Until the fire revolution of the 1960s, no region so shaped the American way of fire.
The Northern Rockies remain one of three major hearths for America’s fire culture. They hold a major fire laboratory, an equipment development center, an aerial fire depot, and a social engagement with fire—even a literature. Missoula is to fire in the big backcountry what Tallahassee is to prescribed burning and what Southern California is to urban-wildland hybrids. On its margins, Boise hosts the National Interagency Fire Center. In this structured collection of essays on the region, Stephen J. Pyne explores what makes the Northern Rockies distinctive and what sets it apart from other regions of the country. Surprisingly, perhaps, the story is equally one of big bureaucracies and of generations that encounter the region’s majestic landscapes through flame.
The Northern Rockies is part of a multivolume series describing the nation’s fire scene region by region. The volumes in To the Last Smoke also cover Florida, the Northern Rockies, the Great Plains, the Southwest, and several other critical fire regions. The series serves as an important punctuation point to Pyne’s 50-year career with wildland fire—both as a firefighter and a fire scholar. These unique surveys of regional pyrogeography are Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”
After a long journey from Sugar City, Idaho, to France’s Argonne Forest France during World War I,
young Thomas Neibaur found himself in the core of the American Expeditionary Force’s most important offensive.
After becoming separated in advance of his unit, he, despite serious wounds, single-handedly stopped a German
counterattack at a critical hill known as Côte de Châtillon. For this remarkable feat of valor, he received the Medal of
Honor and other awards, becoming the first Idaho and first Mormon recipient of the nation’s highest combat award.
But after a heroic return and brief celebrity, his life followed a tragic downward arc, culminating in his attempt to return
his medal because, as he put it, it could not feed his family.
Held annually, the McCall, Idaho, winter carnival has become a modern tradition. A festival and celebration, it is also a source of community income and opportunity for shared community effort; a chance to display the town attractively to outsiders and to define and assert McCall's identity; and consequently, a source of disagreement among citizens over what their community is, how it should be presented, and what the carnival means.
Though rooted in the broad traditions of community festival, annual civic events, often sponsored by chambers of commerce, such as that in McCall, are as much expressions of popular culture and local commerce as of older traditions. Yet they become dynamic, newer community traditions, with artistic, informal, and social meanings and practices that make them forms of folklore as well as commoditized culture. Winter Carnival is the first volume in a new Utah State University Press series titled Ritual, Festival, and Celebration and edited by folklorist Jack Santino.