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The Extreme History Project: The Dirt on the Past
89 minutes | May 17, 2022
American Zion with Betsy Gaines Quammen
Betsy Gaines Quammen discusses her book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West. Our discussion explores how the Bundy family mix spiritualism, patriotism, and wild places to assert possession over western federal lands. We discuss the myth of the cowboy, militia conceptions of public land in the west, wilderness, and Mormon history. Dr. Betsy Gaines Quammen holds a doctorate in Environmental History from Montana State University, her dissertation focusing on Mormon settlement and public land conflicts. She has studied various religious traditions over the years, with particular attention to how cultures view landscape and wildlife. Join us for this fascinating conversation.
67 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
Birthing the West with Jennifer Hill
Join Nancy and Crystal for a conversation with Dr. Jennifer Hill as we discuss her new book, Birthing the West: Mothers and Midwives in the Rockies and Plains. This book delves into the history of childbirth and reproduction in the west, focusing on the mid-1800s through the 1940s in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana. We talk about Jennifer's research methodology, untold histories of birth on the western prairies, the idea of "social birth," and so much more. Dr. Hill is an assistant teaching professor of American studies at Montana State University. She serves as the executive director of the Women's Reproductive History Alliance, a digital museum dedicated to educating the public on reproductive history. She is passionate about interdisciplinary scholarship, and bringing untold and undocumented histories to the public.
69 minutes | Feb 27, 2022
A Genetic History of the Americas with Jennifer Raff
Join Nancy and Crystal as we talk with author and geneticist, Jennifer Raff, on her new book, ORIGIN: A Genetic History of the Americas. We discuss the genetic history of the first peoples in the Americas, who they were, current theories on how they arrived, and why they made the crossing. We delve into how they dispersed south and how they lived based on a new and powerful kind of evidence: their complete genomes. We also discuss the myths surrounding the peopling of the Americas, specifically the myth of the Moundbuilders, and how myths persist today in fringe theories about the origins of Indigenous people. Jennifer explains how genetics is currently being used to construct narratives that profoundly impact Indigenous peoples of the Americas and how genetics has become entangled with identity in the way that society addresses the question "Who is indigenous?" Join us for this riveting discussion with settler scientist Jennifer Raff! Echo-Hawk, Roger (2011) "Summer Soltice," The Mythic Circle: Vol. 2011 : Iss. 33 , Article 14. Available at: https://dc.swosu.edu/mcircle/vol2011/iss33/14
41 minutes | Feb 20, 2022
Finding Harriet Tubman with Julie Schablitsky
Join us as we talk with Dr. Julie Schablitsky about the recent discovery of the spot where Harriet Tubman’s father, Ben Ross, had his home, and where Harriet would have spent some of her childhood. Harriet Tubman was born as Araminta Ross in March 1822 on the Thompson Farm in Maryland. She and her mother were enslaved by the Brodess family and moved away from the farm when she was a toddler. Ben Ross felled and sold timber, which was transported by free black mariners to Baltimore shipyards and used to build ships. Harriet Tubman learned to navigate difficult terrain while working with her father. Interacting with mariners also provided knowledge of waterways on the East Coast, which may have helped her lead people to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Julie Schablitsky is Chief of the Cultural Resources Division at the Maryland Department of Transportation. She graduated with her doctorate from Portland State University in Oregon with an emphasis in archaeology. After graduation, Julie carried out research on the Donner Party of California and the medieval estate of Amisfield in Scotland. Her Maryland research includes African America, cemeteries, and the recovery of DNA from artifacts.
88 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Race and the Wild West with Laura Arata
Join us as we talk with Dr. Laura Arata about her book, Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, The Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870-1930. We discuss the life of Sarah Bickford, a black woman who grew up enslaved in Tennessee and then traveled to Montana Territory after she was emancipated. Sarah settled in the gold rush town of Virginia City where she lived out the rest of her life. She married twice, both times to white men. When her second husband died, she inherited his shares of the Virginia City Water Company and eventually acquired sole ownership, which she ran until her death in 1931. In addition to Sarah, we discuss Mattie Castner and Mary Fields, two black women who grew up enslaved but moved to Montana in the late 19th century and made lives for themselves in Montana.
77 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
The Dirt on Yellowstone’s ”1883”
Join Nancy and Crystal as they discuss the new series, 1883. This is a prequal to the popular, Yellowstone series that premiered in 2018. Yellowstone is an American drama created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson that follows the fictional Dutton family, owners of the largest cattle ranch in Montana. The prequal, 1883, follows the origins of the Dutton family on a a journey from Texas to Montana is another Taylor Sheridan creation. Nancy and Crystal share their insights surrounding the historical context of the show. Join us as we take a deep dive into the first five episodes of 1883!
73 minutes | Jan 22, 2022
Stolen Spirits with Chip Colwell
Who owns the past and the objects that connect us to history? We discuss this and so much more with Chip Colwell as we talk about his book, Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America's Culture. Our conversation revolves around NAPRA, repatriation of human remains, and ultimately human dignity and the importance of relationships. Chip Colwell is the founding Editor-in-Chief of SAPIENS, an online magazine about anthropological thinking and serves as co-host of the SAPIENS podcast. He served as the Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for 12 years and has published many academic articles, book chapters, and 12 books. Join us for this fascinating conversation, and a peek into the world of museums and repatriation.
68 minutes | Jan 18, 2022
Before Yellowstone with Doug MacDonald
Join us for this timely conversation with Doug MacDonald on his book, Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the Park. As Yellowstone National Park celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022, we discuss the deep history of people living in this region. The archaeological research done by Doug and his team of students from the University of Montana shows that the wild landscape has a long history of human presence. In fact, Indigenous people have hunted bison and bighorn sheep, fished for cutthroat trout, and gathered bitterroot and camas bulbs here for at least 11,000 years, and twenty-six tribes claim cultural association with Yellowstone today. We talk with Doug about the significance of archaeological areas such as Obsidian Cliff, where hunters obtained volcanic rock to make tools, and Yellowstone Lake, a traditional place for gathering edible plants. We also discuss the complicated history of Yellowstone and the controversial preservation of the wilderness idea. We debunk the myth that Yellowstone National Park was a wilderness untouched by humans. Join us for this important discussion! To Learn More: Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the Park by Doug MacDonald The Lost History of Yellowstone: Debunking the myth that the great national park was a wilderness untouched by humans
51 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
The Year in Review with Crystal and Nancy
Join us as we recap our year of podcast episodes. We discuss what we've learned from our amazing guests, and some highlights from our second season of podcasting. We dive into the why we think this podcast is important and our take-aways from the year. Join us for this final conversation of 2021!
72 minutes | Dec 13, 2021
Forget the Alamo with Chris Tomlinson
Join us as we talk with Chris Tomlinson about his new book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, co-written with Bryan Burrough and Jason Stanford. Every nation needs its creation myth, and since Texas was a nation before it was a state, it's no surprise that its myths bite deep. There's no piece of history more important to Texans than the Battle of the Alamo, when Davy Crockett and a band of rebels went down in a blaze of glory fighting for independence from Mexico, losing the battle but setting Texas up to win the war. However, that version of events, as Forget the Alamo definitively shows, owes more to fantasy than reality. Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos--Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels--scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over. In our conversation, Chris explains the true story of the battle and walks us through the creation of the Alamo myth in the Jim Crow South of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As uncomfortable as it may be to hear for some, celebrating the Alamo has long had an echo of celebrating whiteness. Join us for this riveting and important conversation.
59 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
Archaeology of a Chinese Community with Christopher Merritt
Join us as we talk with Utah State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) with the Utah Division of State History, Christopher Merritt, about his work as a SHPO and his interest in historic Chinese communities in the West. We talk specifically about a ghost town called Terrace, UT. Terrace was once a bustling town located along the transcontinental railroad, but has long since been dismantled and abandoned. The only evidence that remains are scattered bricks, glass and porcelain shards where buildings once stood. Terrace grew to about 1,000 residents at one time and was also the second-largest population of Chinese individuals in Utah (behind Corrine). In 2020 and 2021, archaeology was done at the townsite of Terrace to better understand the individuals that once called this place home, including the historic Chinese community. Chris talks with us about this archaeological excavation and what was learned from the artifacts and structures left behind. If you would like to volunteer to help with this project, follow this link. http://www.passportintime.com/available-projects.html.
82 minutes | Nov 9, 2021
Archaeology from Africa to Montana with Jack Fisher
Join us as we talk with archaeologist Jack Fisher about his career as an archaeologist. We discuss his ethnoarchaeological research among the Efe people in the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his work at First People's Buffalo Jump in Montana, his research partnership with John Parkington of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and his work on an antelope kill site called Lost Terrace. For further reading, be sure to read Jack's chapter in Pisskan: Interpreting First Peoples Bison Kills at Heritage Parks. His chapter, co-written with Tom Roll, is entitled "First Peoples Buffalo Jump Archaeology: Research Results and Public Interpretation." Dr. Jack Fisher taught anthropology at Montana State University (Bozeman) for 30 years and now serves as an Emeritus Associate professor at Montana State University. During his career, his archaeological research focused on the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of Montana. He also did archaeological research in the Western Cape of South Africa in collaboration with archaeologists at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. At the beginning of his career, he did ethnoarchaeological research for one year among Efe people, part-time hunter-gatherers, in the Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
61 minutes | Nov 2, 2021
Forensic Anthropology with Dr. Lilly White
Join us for a conversation with Dr. Lilly White on her work as a forensic anthropologist. We talk about how she became interested in the field, the cultural and historical traditions around death and dying, Lilly's work during the pandemic as a condolence specialist, and what her work as a forensic anthropologist entails. Lilly received her PhD in Anthropology in 2019 from the University of Montana and currently owns Bone & Stone Anthrosciences with her husband, Stocky White. Follow Bone and Stone on Instagram @deathphd.
65 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
Cemeteries in The West with Ellen Baumler
Join us as we talk with historian Ellen Baumler about her new book, The Life of the Afterlife in the Big Sky State: A History of Montana's Cemeteries. We talk about burial customs, headstone symbolism, the history of cemeteries in the west, boot hills, and cultural identity reflected in western cemeteries. Ellen Baumler was the interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society from 1992 until her retirement in 2018. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including Spirit Tailings: Ghost Tales from Virginia City, Helena and Butte, The Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, and Dark Spaces: Montana's Historic Penitentiary at Deer Lodge. Ellen is a master storyteller and public historian that makes history relevant through her writing, public appearances, radio spots, and historic walking tours. To Learn More: Check out Ellen's new book, "The Life of the Afterlife in the Big Sky State: A History of Montana's Cemeteries."
64 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Ancient Footprints with Matthew Bennett
Join us for a conversation with Dr. Matthew Bennett, the lead scientist on a recently published article in the Journal Science that examined a set of human footprints preserved on an ancient lakeshore in New Mexico's White Sands National Park that date to between 21,000 and 23,000 years old. We discuss the fossilized human footprints, but we also talk about footprints of other animals including camels, mammoths, and giant sloths that are intermixed with the human prints at this site. We discuss how Matthew and his team determined that the footprints were those of children and teenagers, and how Matthew and his team have consulted with the 32 indigenous nations in the area and his commitment to an indigenous archaeology framework. Dr. Bennett brings this topic to life with his "evidence-based storytelling" so have a listen and enjoy our conversation about these ancient footprints that have pushed the evidence for the peopling of Americas back to at least 21,000 years ago. For Further Reading: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/24/1040381802/ancient-footprints-new-mexico-white-sands-humans https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58638854 https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/fossil-footprints/ https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/a-prehistoric-hunt-preserved-in-incredible-fossilized-tracks/558797/ https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/first-americans-how-and-when-were-americas-populated
59 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
The Bon Ton Building with Crystal and Nancy
On this podcast, Crystal and Nancy dig deep into the history of a historic structure in downtown Bozeman. This building is significant because it currently houses Nancy's boutique, Moka, along with three other businesses including Alara Jewelry, Plume Bridal and Visions West Gallery! We explore the history of this building through the historic characters and businesses that have occupied this space through the years. We talk about the history, but also talk with current tenants including Babs Noell that owns and operates Alara Jewelry. Babs has occupied her space in the building for 17 years. We talk with her about the history of her space, along with the ups and downs of having a shop within a historic structure. Join us for this "in the field" podcast as we explore downtown Bozeman and the Bon Ton Building! A big thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Steep Mountain Tea and The Western Heritage Center.
104 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
Black Montana with Anthony Wood
Join us as we talk with Anthony Wood about his new book, Black Montana: Settler Colonialism and the Erosion of the Racial Frontier, 1877-1930. Anthony talks with us about his work on the Montana African American Heritage Resources Project and how this inspired him to delve deeper into the history of Montana's Black communities. His book explores the entanglements of race, settler colonialism, and the emergence of state and regional identity in the American West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By producing conditions of social, cultural, and economic precarity that undermined Black Montanans’ networks of kinship, community, and financial security, the state of Montana, in its capacity as a settler colony, worked to exclude the Black community that began to form inside its borders after Reconstruction. We unpack this to better understand why Montana's Black community, and much of Montana's diverse early communities, left Montana before 1930. Anthony is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. He worked as a historian for the Montana Historical Society on Montana’s African American Heritage Places Project. For further reading: Black Montana: Settler Colonialism and the Erosion of the Racial Frontier, 1877 - 1930 by Anthony Wood What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America by Peggy Pascoe Montana’s African American Heritage Resources Project https://mhs.mt.gov/Shpo/AfricanAmericans/ Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870–1930 By Laura J. Arata
75 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
The Chastity Plot with Lisabeth During
Join us for our conversation with Lisabeth During about her recently published book, The Chastity Plot. During tells the story of chastity through time, how it has been honored and despised and how the obsession with chastity has played a powerful and disturbing role enforcing patriarchy’s double standards. Chastity is imbedded in Western culture, a myth of gender that has long been contested by feminists. We talk about how chastity has been portrayed through literature, religion, and cultural history from antiquity to the present and why it is relevant today. Find this book at The University of Chicago Press. The Chastity Plot https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo68652053.html#:~:text=In%20The%20Chastity%20Plot%2C%20Lisabeth,loved%2C%20honored%2C%20and%20despised.
71 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Tomb Robbers, Art Police, and Patrimony in Italy with Fiona Greenland
Join us for a fascinating discussion with Fiona Greenland about her new book, "Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy." Greenland reveals the contemporary actors in this tale, taking a close look at the Art Squad and state archaeologists on one side and unauthorized excavators, thieves, and smugglers on the other. Control over its cultural heritage through a famously effective art-crime squad that has been the inspiration of novels, movies, and tv shows. In its efforts to bring their cultural artifacts home, Italy has entered into legal battles against some of the world’s major museums, including the Getty, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, and the Louvre. It has turned heritage into patrimony capital—a powerful and controversial convergence of art, money, and politics. Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/R/bo72232678.html
57 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
Indian Boarding Schools with Marsha Small
Join us as we talk with Marsha Small about her work to locate and document Indian boarding school cemeteries. Marsha leads the Indigenous Peoples' Day Montana movement and her work with the preservation and conservation of sacred sites and places using GPR, GPS, and GIS, specifically in boarding school cemeteries is internationally known. Marsha uses ground-penetrating radar to locate unmarked graves, including at the Chemawa Indian School cemetery in Salem, Oregon. Marsha has a master’s degree in Native American Studies from Montana State University and is currently working on a PhD. Marsha was the distinguished visiting Native American Studies professor in Anthropology at Willamette University in 2019. We discuss Marsha's work at the Chemawa Indian Boarding School cemetery, along with the work she has been doing to establish protocols to document boarding school cemeteries. This is hard history and very difficult to discuss. Our thanks to Marsha for her continued dedication to this work and her mission to locate and document the graves of these children. To follow Marsha on social media use #aVoicefortheChildrenInIndianBoardingSchoolCemeteries.
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