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Dissent at a Distance
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June 1, 2020

In this issue, our feature story looks at a massive poaching ring in Washington and Oregon and the determined investigators who took it down by tracking it digitally. We also scrutinize the Gadsden flag, the Revolutionary War-era symbol that’s become popular with anti-government figures. We look at a small health-care clinic in rural Oregon that made a successful shift to telemedicine during the pandemic, and then visit the Navajo Nation, where the coronavirus is seriously straining the public health system. In Arizona, we meet a wave of younger, more ethnically diverse environmental activists, and we also learn how the pandemic is inspiring new forms of collective action against immigration detention in the Borderlands. In Alaska, we ponder the fate of sockeye salmon — and the communities that rely on these remarkable fish — in a rapidly warming climate. Elsewhere, we dig into a new report revealing the racism and disenfranchisement Indigenous voters face, and we review a new book that shows how the U.S. is essentially closing its doors to asylum seekers.

Feature

Catching a band of wildlife killers
Catching a band of wildlife killers
How a bounty of digital evidence led to the downfall of one of the nation’s deadliest poaching crews.
The Gadsden flag is a symbol. But whose?
The Gadsden flag is a symbol. But whose?
How a Revolutionary War-era flag evolved into an anti-government symbol.

Reportage

Protesting immigrant detention during a pandemic
Protesting immigrant detention during a pandemic
Will new forms of collective action lead to permanent societal changes?
COVID-19 impacts every corner of the Navajo Nation
COVID-19 impacts every corner of the Navajo Nation
Front-line workers confront the world’s newest deadly malady.
How a small Arizona town is building ecological resilience
How a small Arizona town is building ecological resilience
A younger generation of activists are being trained in conservation.
Report: Indigenous voters face racism and suppression
Report: Indigenous voters face racism and suppression
‘Native Americans just face really unreasonable obstacles when it comes to voting.’
Lawsuit challenges acting BLM director’s Senate confirmation avoidance
Lawsuit challenges acting BLM director’s Senate confirmation avoidance
William Perry Pendley had his tenure extended in early May.
Climate change has setnetters worried about Alaska’s sockeye
Climate change has setnetters worried about Alaska’s sockeye
Last year, the state’s Ugashik River was so warm salmon wouldn’t swim up it to spawn.
‘They cut all of our hours’
‘They cut all of our hours’
Despite their designation as essential, California farmworkers are being furloughed.

Editor's Note

Don’t despair. Dissent.
Don’t despair. Dissent.
Look to others doing good work and act.

What Works

Virtual house calls flourish in the age of coronavirus
Virtual house calls flourish in the age of coronavirus
COVID-19 has pushed health care into cyberspace — and some rural practitioners might stay there.

Facts & Figures

Who wins and who loses with these 4 regulatory rollbacks?
Who wins and who loses with these 4 regulatory rollbacks?
Under a pandemic, Trump backslides pollution and wildlife protection standards.

Conversation

American violence in the time of coronavirus
American violence in the time of coronavirus
Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz puts armed ‘reopen’ protests in their historical context.

Book Reviews

The U.S. is closing its doors to asylum seekers
The U.S. is closing its doors to asylum seekers
‘The Dispossessed’ follows a family’s harrowing search for safety, and asks what new policies say about the nation’s long-standing ideals.
When the ‘war on terror’  comes home
When the ‘war on terror’ comes home
‘Acceleration Hours’ is an honest, rare look at American militarism.

Photo Essay

On the deep human need to be outside
On the deep human need to be outside
The isolation of COVID-19 has made the outdoors even more important.

Perspective

Coronavirus shows we must change how we live or face self-destruction
Coronavirus shows we must change how we live or face self-destruction
Indigenous knowledge has a lot to teach us about global pandemics.
Park closures have unequal costs
Park closures have unequal costs
As we limit outdoor access, consider the impact on underrepresented communities.

Heard Around the West

COVID hollars; Gok’s uncertainty; best friend graffiti
COVID hollars; Gok’s uncertainty; best friend graffiti
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Take heart in hard times
Take heart in hard times
From stowaway hatchlings to eager minds, there’s hope in the West.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • CLIMATE CHANGE COORDINATOR
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is seeking a Climate Change Coordinator to play a lead role in shaping our programs to make the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors EMPLOYMENT TYPE: Part-time - Full-time, based...
  • HEALTHY CITIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Healthy Cities Program Director leads and manages the Healthy Cities Program for the Arizona Chapter and is responsible for developing and implementing innovative, high...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Conservation Programs Manager Job Opening Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Associate Director Job Posting Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science,...
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • OJO SARCO FARM/HOME
    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac