This is the third issue of the Center’s
bi-monthly, on-line newsletter. The
Center does a wide range of work in the state and in the region – exploring our
history, current challenges, and emerging opportunities.
For those of us lucky enough to live in the Rocky Mountain West, we know
we live in a special place. If it
wasn’t, there wouldn’t be something like the Center.
We try to be a unique asset and resource for the region and will
continue to report to you regularly on our activities.
From all of
us at the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, The University of
month in the region's history
provided by William Farr
The above ground buildings of the Smith Mine
as it appeared in the early days.
Fifty-three years ago, in the early days of the new year, a Montana
coal mining explosion caused the death of seventy-four miners at the Smith Mine
at Washoe near Red Lodge on February 27, 1943. It
was the biggest coal mining disaster in Montana history. Eerily
reminiscent, then as now, trapped miners left poignant messages to their loved
ones. One communication, written in
chalk, read: "Walter and Johnny goodbye wife and daughters, we died an easy
death." Another registered the
attempts of those involved to save themselves: "We try to do our best but we
couldn’t get out."
See Ellis Roberts Parry,
Globe Pequot Press, 2001), p. 4
in the news
new tack in West's land battles - Christian Science Monitor,
Jan. 25, 2006
Community-Based Conservation Seminar Series: Daniel Kemmis, Jan. 25 - Colorado
State University, Jan. 20, 2006
will courts go to achieve school funding equity? - Missoulian Online,
Jan. 20, 2006
Home loans slow down, competition heats up - Missoulian, Jan.
Democrats discuss Western primary - Missoulian, Jan. 11, 2006
The West and the high court - The Denver Post, Jan. 9, 2006
State's aging population brings in big federal bucks - Missoulian,
Jan. 6, 2006
UM seminar will
examine school funding - Missoulian, Jan. 5, 2006
from the ‘dark side’: New ‘vanguard agriculture’ puts people back on land
- The Billings Outpost, Jan. 5, 2006
Browning museum to lose funding - Great Falls Tribune, Jan. 1,
Museum has endured rocky journey - Great Falls Tribune, Jan. 1,
year of the baby and the middle-aged - Helena Independent Record,
Jan. 2, 2006
Utah Keeps Western Primary Rolling - Headwaters News, Dec. 28, 2006
comes to the rescue of town overrun by growth - The Oregonian,
Dec. 25, 2005
Local economy has momentum going into '06 - Great Falls Tribune,
Dec. 23. 2005
Babies as economic indicators? - Great Falls Tribune, Dec. 18,
Great Falls hearing only an echo of West’s boom - Great Falls Tribune,
Dec. 14, 2005
economic summit puts spotlight on region's retail scene - Great Falls
Tribune, Dec. 11, 2005
Give economy a checkup at summit next week - Great Falls Tribune,
Dec. 6, 2005
February 3, Bob Brown interviewed former Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice
and State Senate President Jean Turnage for the Mansfield Library historical
archives. The recorded interview
with Justice Turnage is part of a series of interviews Brown has conducted with
prominent Montanans to preserve their recollections and perspectives for future
February 2 in Helena, Mont., Center Director Larry Swanson
presented an analysis of projected trends in population, income, and employment
during a strategic planning session of the Montana State Fund (MSF). MSF
is a state entity created by the Montana Legislature to provide workman’s
compensation insurance in the state.
On February 1 in
Nev., Daniel Kemmis assisted the Mina Management
Team (a diverse, collaborative, resource
management team, associated with the
management of the
grazing allotment near
Walker Lake) with a strategic planning session for that rural watershed.
January 27, Pat Williams was a guest speaker at a
Missoula lunch celebrating the publishing of Motherlode, a
book about the legacy of women in early day
Montana.Williams spoke of the necessity of
women in the turbulent, bawdy mining camps
of the late 1800s and early 1900s.His remarks were titled "It Took a
Village to Mine the Copper."Motherlode
has been published by River City Press of Livingston, Mont., and is available
in both soft and hardback.
On January 26 in
Helena, Mont., Swanson discussed population and economic trends in
Montana’s major cities at a meeting of the mayors and managers of
Montana’s seven largest cities.
During the last ten years, over 90
percent of the state’s income growth
occurred in and around Montana’s
seven largest cities.
On January 25 in Ft. Collins, Colo.,
Kemmis was a guest lecturer at
Colorado State University, presenting the opening session in a
semester-long seminar series on collaborative conservation.
On January 24 in Kalispell, Mont.,
Brown was invited to participate in a group planning session to establish a
"Center for Community Leadership" at Flathead Valley Community College.
The purpose of the proposed Center would be to bring together local
opinion leaders and public officials to resolve community conflicts and lead
the Flathead Valley forward as a community.
On January 19 in Missoula, at The
University of Montana, Bob Brown and Pat Williams moderated the third in the
seminar series sponsored by the Center entitled "Montana Constitution:
Progressive Spirit of the Rocky Mountain West". More
than 100 people attended, with panel discussions by key educational and
legislative leaders on public school funding and on constitutional requirements
for Indian education in Montana. The
fourth in the five-part series will focus on the environmental protection
provisions of the state constitution and will be held at the UM Flathead Lake
Biological Station on June 9.
On January 13, Williams was a guest on
the nationwide talk radio program hosted by Al Franken.
Williams has been an earlier contributor to and a guest on Garrison
Keeler’s weekly radio program broadcast by NPR.
January 10 in Missoula, Kemmis spoke to the Missoula County Democratic Central
Committee on plans for western states to hold their presidential primaries or
caucuses on the same date in 2008.
January 6 in Great Falls, Mont., Swanson was an invited speaker at
the Northcentral Montana Healthcare Alliance Regional Governance Conference.
His presentation was "Rural Healthcare’s Place in the Economy of
The conference was attended by hospital and health care
administrators and board members from a 12-county area.
January of 2006, the University of
Paris-Sorbonne published the book, Nature et Progrès, edited by Pierre
This volume is the twelfth in its series Collection
This effort came about as the result of an international
conference held at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and includes an article by
William Farr, Associate Director of Humanities at the Center, entitled "Putting
Indians Back Into the Wilderness Equation: Blackfeet Indians and the Great
December 13 in Great Falls, Mont., Larry Swanson was keynote
speaker at the second annual "Great Falls Area Economic
Summit." He discussed key trends in the area
economy and related economic development
activities and initiatives by area
organizations. The meeting was sponsored by the City
of Great Falls, Great Falls Development
Airport, and the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Center Web Site
Archived Center Newsletters
The University of Montana
KUFM Public Radio
Center for the Rocky Mountain West is a program of The University of Montana in
Patterns in the
Rocky Mountain West
The sea change in migration patterns so heavily
impacting the 5-state Rockies (CO, UT, ID, WY, MT) began in the early ‘90s and
continued. In the 2000 Census, estimates were made of residence changes
(moving) by states of origin during the five-year period from 1995 to 2000.
During this five-year period, of the 8.3 million residents of the region in
2000, about 4.25 million (51%) had been in the same residence in 1995 as they
were in 2000 (“non-movers”). For the others who had moved, nearly 3.2 million
(38%) had moved within the 5-state region. The other 1.1 million (13%) moved to
the region from other states.
The states of origin of these new residents of the
Rockies are shown in the lower chart. Many came from California – about 21% of
the total. The next two most frequent origin states are Texas (8.3%) and
Washington (7.3%), followed by Arizona (5.5%).
February 6-7 in Nebraska City, Neb., Larry Swanson will be presenting and
participating in a meeting of conservation organizations and rural development
experts examining grassland conservation strategies for a multi-state region of
the northern Great Plains. The meeting is sponsored by the Grasslands
Foundation of Lincoln, Neb.
February 14 in
Mont., Swanson will be discussing economic and demographic trends in the
as part of the
annual Bitterroot Business Conference sponsored by the
Montana Community Development Corporation, Farmers State Bank, and Maverick
Marketing of Hamilton.
On February 16 in Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho, Swanson will be presenting at the 2006
Real Estate Market Forum. He will discuss economic and
population trends in the Rocky Mountain West
and in western Montana
conference is attended by more than 300
people working in real estate and business
in the region.
On February 18, Bob Brown
will present a lecture entitled "Perspectives on the American Political System"
to a delegation of the All China Youth Federation at the Mansfield Center for
Asian and Pacific Affairs. The Federation
is made up of selected young Chinese professionals and emerging government
On February 23 in Helena, Mont., Pat
Williams will be the dinner speaker at the annual convention of the Wildlife
Society. Williams’ subject will be
"The Land and Politics."
On March 6-7 in Ottawa, Canada, Swanson will be attending a meeting with
the PCO Policy Research Group of
Ottawa as part of a
delegation of the Canadian-American Border
Trade Alliance. The meeting will focus on research
and policy needs regarding the U.S.-Canada
border, trade and transportation, and
bi-national regional economies. PCO also is
forming a National Roundtable for the
Canadian government on these issues.
On March 16-18, Daniel Kemmis will
speak at a conference on civic tourism
March 27 and April 14, Brown will teach students at Nankai University in
Tianin, China about the U.S. political system. Bob
will work at Nankai University with government Prof. Han Zhaoying. Prof.
Han will visit UM to teach here in the spring of 2007.
On March 28, Kemmis will present a
public lecture on public land management under the auspices of the
Landscape Architecture Program at Washington
quotes from the region
as provided by Headwaters
is nothing positive about this bill unless you happen to have ownership in a
former BLM land manager in Nevada, over the U.S. House-passed legislation to
revamp the 1872 Mining Act.
- Casper Star-Tribune (AP) - 12/05/05
need to stress that killing a grizzly is not something to brag about; it's
something to be ashamed of."
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's grizzly bear coordinator, discussing a record
number of illegal grizzly bear kills in northwestern Montana.
- Great Falls Tribune - 01/23/06
declaring the boom is on."
senior economist and author of a report that showed Utah can expect thousands of new public school students
- Deseret News - 01/11/2006
river has been drained within an inch of its life."
director of Trout Unlimited's Montana Water Project, on the group's
creation of a water right for bull and cutthroat trout on Poorman Creek.
- Washington Post - 01/16/2006
your house and your land is in danger of being taken from you, it changes your
whose Colorado ranch lies in the path of a proposed transportation corridor, at
a hearing on legislation that would block the use of eminent domain to clear the way for private toll
- Denver Post - 01/20/2006
2006, the Center for the Rocky Mountain West is holding a course entitled
"Regionalism and the Rocky Mountain West." First
taught in 1998, this three-credit course organized and taught by William Farr,
Pat Williams, and Geoffrey Gritzner of the Department of Geography is
cross-listed and is available for credit in either History or Geography.
Drawing upon a variety of classroom presentations from a number of
disciplines, including those of Center faculty, "Regionalism and the Rocky
Mountain West" is an attempt to define, describe, and compare this region with
others and to explore regionalism as a meaningful approach to analyzing and
understanding contemporary western problems and issues.
Center and Larry Swanson are completing work on a research project for the
Montana State Fund – a public entity created by the Montana Legislature to
maintain a viable system of workers’ compensation insurance in the state. The
study is identifying probably 20-year futures for the state in population,
income, and employment.
Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana has received
$40,000 for the second year of operation of the Indian Leaders Institute. The
Student Assistance Foundation in
Helena made the grant to help the Institute continue efforts of
enhancing tribal self-governance, Indian/state relations and opportunities for
future Indian leaders now graduating from post-secondary schools.
In its first year the Institute conducted two symposiums for the
state’s elected Indian legislators. In
addition, the Institute co-sponsored three conferences—first, The Indian
Self-Determination Act; second, Indian Education for All; and third, effects of
the special session of the Montana Legislature on K-12 education and education
of Indian students particularly.
In 2006, the Institute plans two governance seminars on the
and Blackfeet reservations. New to this year’s offerings
and The University of Montana will engage with select students in
their transition from school to work or advanced degrees.
Williams has been appointed to the ad hoc Restoration Advisory Committee,
created by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer who is interested in finding ways
to improve the state’s restoration economy.
The committee is organizing a Restoration Reclamation Conference in June in
March, Pat Williams will convene the second of four leadership seminars
sponsored by Montana’s Progressive Policy Institute.
The Institute began in 2005, graduating 15 participants. This
year’s class of 25 held its first seminar during the second weekend in January
with presentations on topics ranging from
Montana political history to Native American education.