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Infectious Ideologies
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August 1, 2020

Extremist thinking tends to replicate during times of confusion and uncertainty. In this issue, we look at some of the extremist groups currently making headlines across the West, including Christian Reconstructionists in Idaho and Montana, patriot militias in Oregon and radical right-wing vigilantes in New Mexico. Our August issue also highlights collaborative efforts that transcend conflict, examining the life-saving solutions of two West Coast communities facing dire shortages in food and housing, and chronicling the decades-long efforts of the Pueblo of Acoma and U.S. investigators to return a stolen ceremonial shield to its home in New Mexico. We track the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the once-thriving clean energy industry and explore the long-term consequences of the psychological trauma that wildland firefighters experience. Finally, we introduce readers to a literary experiment in nature poetry and a debut novel about three generations of Cherokee women, and we learn how the pandemic forced one scientist to question the whole concept of “invasive species.”

Feature

Wildland firefighters are risking their mental health
Wildland firefighters are risking their mental health
As climate change lengthens fire seasons, will the government do enough to protect them?
As a plague sweeps the land, zealots see a gift from heaven
As a plague sweeps the land, zealots see a gift from heaven
Extremist pastors are using the COVID-19 pandemic to push their conservative religious ideologies.
Unraveling the mystery of a stolen ceremonial shield
Unraveling the mystery of a stolen ceremonial shield
How a sacred object from the Pueblo of Acoma turned up at a Paris auction house, and how the tribe fought for its return.

Reportage

New Mexico’s thin blurred line
New Mexico’s thin blurred line
Police in the state have long flirted with radical right-wing vigilantism.
Patriot militia groups mobilize during a deadly pandemic and massive protests
Patriot militia groups mobilize during a deadly pandemic and massive protests
‘That has a real chilling effect on democratic practice.’
University of California remains vigilant amid DACA decision
University of California remains vigilant amid DACA decision
Supreme Court rules in favor of DACA program, but immigrant rights still have a long way to go.

Editor's Note

Where people are stepping up
Where people are stepping up
In the face of conflict and misinformation, hope remains.

What Works

The housing policy that’s turning back gentrification
The housing policy that’s turning back gentrification
In the wake of COVID-19, some California cities are introducing tenant protections.

Facts & Figures

The job loss epidemic
The job loss epidemic
COVID-19 impacts ripple through every sector of the economy.

Essays

Am I an invasive species?
Am I an invasive species?
How COVID-19 and ‘murder hornets’ compelled a writer to rethink invasions.

Photo Essay

Food insecurities exposed by COVID-19 in Washington
Food insecurities exposed by COVID-19 in Washington
A task force addresses weaknesses and inequities in the food system.

Review

Reimagining nature poetry
Reimagining nature poetry
Benjamin Garcia’s ‘Thrown in the Throat’ uses plants and landscapes to think past oppressive structures.
‘One hell of a testimony’ about mothers and daughters
‘One hell of a testimony’ about mothers and daughters
Debut novelist Kelli Jo Ford writes a lyrical tale of faith and family.

Heard Around the West

Teenage wolves; petticoat rulers; Alaska’s permissive hunting
Teenage wolves; petticoat rulers; Alaska’s permissive hunting
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Fresh minds join the fold
Fresh minds join the fold
We welcome three new editorial interns, albeit remotely.

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