Magazine
In The Graces of Grasses
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October 1, 2021

In this issue, Westerners struggle to cope with the effects of our nation’s politics and policies. Our feature story delves into how right-wing extremists, responding to pandemic recommendations, are causing public health officers to step down across the West. Meanwhile, families who can’t afford skyrocketing rents are camping year-round on public land and often finding it’s not easy. The sparks are flying between utility equipment and climate change. But there’s also good news: Oregon families are rebuilding houses — and lives — after last year’s fires, while St. Johns, Arizona, decided its at-risk youth needed a youth center more than juvenile detention. In north-central Montana, Aaniiih and Nakoda youth reclaim their heritage by restoring the prairie, while elsewhere in the state, volunteers remove fences that impede migrating wildlife. Jason Asenap reflects on the need for more Indigenous critics to discuss Indigenous films and TV series, and a Washington writer wonders if nature can mend the growing political fractures in her tiny community.

Feature

When public health becomes the public enemy
When public health becomes the public enemy
Far-right extremists are robbing the West of the officials who protect community health.
Where do public lands factor into the homelessness crisis?
Where do public lands factor into the homelessness crisis?
As the housing crisis in the West deepens, more unhoused people are making a home outside.

Reportage

In Arizona, a radical change in juvenile detention
In Arizona, a radical change in juvenile detention
How a rural town transformed a juvenile facility into a safe space for teens.
Behind the wire with a fence ecologist
Behind the wire with a fence ecologist
How researchers are using science and data to help wildlife.
Idaho denies proposed land exchange
Idaho denies proposed land exchange
The state found that the timber tracts offered in a proposed trade are worth much less than the land around Payette Lake.
Collecting seeds to restore prairie grasslands
Collecting seeds to restore prairie grasslands
‘These youth are going to be able to take ownership of healing the land at Fort Belknap.’

Editor's Note

What we need to live well in the West
What we need to live well in the West
Some notes on a pandemic-tainted reality.

Facts & Figures

Fuel for the electrical fire
Fuel for the electrical fire
Utility equipment sparks blazes, but climate change stokes them.

Essays

How wildlife sightings create community
How wildlife sightings create community
What we share and what we keep quiet in small mountain towns.
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
Now that the industry is finally greenlighting Indigenous films and TV, Indigenous critics ought to lead the conversation.

Photo Essay

What rebuilding from wildfire looks like
What rebuilding from wildfire looks like
A photographer intimately documents how families are recovering one year after the Almeda Fire.

Review

Reaching across Colorado’s racial frontiers
Reaching across Colorado’s racial frontiers
Jenny Shank’s new story collection ‘Mixed Company’ reveals racial fault lines in the Centennial State.

Heard Around the West

A recovered sum; a bear with a job; a loss of goofy trees
A recovered sum; a bear with a job; a loss of goofy trees
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Letters

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