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December 9, 2019

This special double issue takes on the complex politics of the American West. We investigate how the national Democratic party chose Xochitl Torres Small, a New Mexico congresswoman, in the 2018 primary. The investigation tears back the curtain on the political process, showing how the party picked a favorite while stamping down challengers. On the other side of the party divide, another feature profiles Oklahoma Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin. A white-passing citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Mullin is one of the few Native federal lawmakers, but his ultra-conservative views complicate his relationship with Indian Country. Along the border, meanwhile, communities are fighting back against President Donald Trump's most notorious political symbol – the border wall being built through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Elsewhere, the issue looks at the ongoing youth climate case in Oregon, disparities in federal disaster aid, Wyoming's dependence on the dying coal industry and more.

Feature

This Cherokee congressman is for Trump – and Indian Country
This Cherokee congressman is for Trump – and Indian Country
Markwayne Mullin, who is hard-right and white-passing, may not seem like an Indigenous lawmaker, but he’s no anomaly.
Party favors: Should parties pick candidates before voters do?
Party favors: Should parties pick candidates before voters do?
The 2018 battle over New Mexico’s most conservative district shows just how undemocratic politics can be.

Editor's Note

The West needs more effective political coverage
The West needs more effective political coverage
Retrospective storytelling captures the nuance of our systems to better inform us as we enter election season.

Current

‘This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy’
‘This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy’
At a protest in Organ Pipe, border communities fight Trump’s wall.
Why are Govs. Inslee and Brown fighting the youth climate cases?
Why are Govs. Inslee and Brown fighting the youth climate cases?
Settling with the young activists could be an important tool for climate action.
When disaster strikes, Indigenous communities receive unequal recovery aid
When disaster strikes, Indigenous communities receive unequal recovery aid
U.S. citizens recovering from natural disasters receive $26 per person, per year from the federal government. Tribal citizens? Just $3.
Wildlife refuges suffer under budget cuts and staff shortages
Wildlife refuges suffer under budget cuts and staff shortages
The key mission of the Refuge System — to protect and restore wildlife habitat — may be falling by the wayside.
A long-running water-rights lawsuit over the Klamath River ends
A long-running water-rights lawsuit over the Klamath River ends
Court upholds upstream river rights of the Klamath, Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes.
Wyoming’s coal-fired economy is coming to an end
Wyoming’s coal-fired economy is coming to an end
The state faces a future without an industry that’s been very good to it.

Book Reviews

California’s Dream has turned into water nightmares
California’s Dream has turned into water nightmares
A new book looks at the Golden State’s history to understand its current water crisis.

Perspective

The U.S. has spent more money erasing Native languages than saving them
The U.S. has spent more money erasing Native languages than saving them
As tribes fight to save their languages from extinction, has the government done enough?
Economic giants drive income inequality in a second Gilded Age
Economic giants drive income inequality in a second Gilded Age
Can we look to history for reform ideas in the age of big tech robber barons?

Heard Around the West

The penetrable wall; baffling thievery; unretiring outdoors
The penetrable wall; baffling thievery; unretiring outdoors
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

High Country News gets an overhaul
High Country News gets an overhaul
The magazine refreshes its brand and frequency as we plunge into the future.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds