Thursday, December 12, 2013

Contemporary Montana

Looking for resources to teach about Montana today?  In no particular order, here are some links.

The Fall 2012 issue, of Montana Policy Review, titled "Community Responses to Energy Development," addresses community efforts to mitigate the changes taking place in oil country. Articles recognize the challenges and complexities of natural resource development while accentuating positive, forward-looking responses, as well as lessons learned from communities that have already weathered the energy boom and recommendations for those on the fringe of development. 
Slate published some great pictures of the Berkeley Pit.

Speaking of the Pit: I highly recommend a visit to pitwatch.org. Pit Watch is a must-visit website for anyone with questions about the Berkeley Pit. Another great resource is the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program, which offers lesson plans and activities relating to the Superfund site and restoration efforts. 

The Rez We Live On dispels myths about life on contemporary Indian reservations through friendly cartoons. Topics include taxes, sovereignty, checks from the government, and more. For more on contemporary Indian issues, check out the series Native News ran in 2013. Topics include blood quantum, the difficulty of building homes on the reservation, and problems with the Indian Health Service.

If you want to teach your students about both resource extraction and Indian issues, consider using our lesson plan, "Mining Sacred Ground: Environment, Culture, and Economic Development on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation." The goal of this activity is to challenge students to better appreciate the complexities of promoting resource-based economic development when such action conflicts with traditional cultural values. By the end of the exercise, students should also understand that tribal members differ in their attitudes toward resource extraction. If you do use this in your classroom, drop me a line. I'd love to hear how it works (or doesn't).

For a daily look at the hot issues in our region, your best source is Mountain West News. You can visit their website or subscribe to get headline news from around the region.

Finally, folks may also be interested in this earlier post I wrote on resources for studying twentieth-century Montana immigrant groups (Mexican Americans, Hutterites, and Hmong).



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