Archive for July, 2014

Reading Material for the UW Field Trip to the Greasy Grass

Steve has compiled some reading material that you can view here:

this is a large pdf file, so it will take a moment to download.


July 28, 2014 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

July Announcement for the Utah Westerners





Few places in the American West are more iconic and contested than the rolling hills and riparian bottomlands of the Little Bighorn Valley in southeastern Montana.  There in June of 1876, George A. Custer’s Seventh Cavalry suffered the United States’ most spectacular defeat of the Indian Wars at the hands of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors led by Crazy Horse, Gall, and Lame White Man. Histories of the Little Bighorn have focused most often on the decisions and actions of combatants on both sides. While few would deny the importance of these individuals, the battlefield itself was a critical, and often overlooked, part of the story.

This presentation is part of a larger environmental history of the Little Bighorn Battlefield commissioned by the National Park Service and will address the ways that understanding the human and natural forces that shaped the landscape of the battlefield can enrich the visitor’s experience at Little Bighorn. Points of discussion will include the environmental context of the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, the radically different ecological relationships of a Plains Indian village and U. S. Army column to the land, and how the actual terrain of the battlefield impacted the conflict.

Gregory E. Smoak is Director of the American West Center and Associate Professor of History at University of Utah, where he specializes in American Indian, American Western, Environmental, and Public History. He completed an M.A. at Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. at the University of Utah in 1999. He has taught at Colorado State University and the University of Minnesota. The University of California Press published his book Ghost Dances and Identity: American Indian Ethnicity, Racial Identity, and Prophetic Religion in 2006. He is currently working on an environmental history of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument under a contract with the National Park service. He has served on numerous committees for professional organizations including the National Council on Public History, the Organization of American Historians, and the Western History Association.

This presentation promises to be an excellent segue into our August field trip, but will undoubtedly also be enjoyed by anyone in the Utah Westerners. Feel free to invite a guest who has any interest in the Custer battle or just western history.


July 3, 2014 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

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