Magazine
Holding Fast
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April 1, 2021

In this issue, we bring you not one but two feature stories: The first dives into the Chinook Nation’s century-long battle for federal recognition, while the second looks at how a proposed land exchange in McCall, Idaho, pushed the locals to seek new ways to preserve public access. In reportage, we learn how Colorado gets stuck with the cleanup bill when energy companies abandon old oil and gas wells. The Biden administration faces major decisions on issues affecting tribal lands and water, and a new report focuses on internet infrastructure in Indian Country. With traditional sources of conservation funding dwindling, we ponder a difficult question: Who should pay to preserve the West’s land and wildlife? Elsewhere, we discuss Montana’s new anti-trans legislation and delve into the shadowy history of Albuquerque’s racist housing market. Our “Facts and Figures” department explains how the West’s unusually deadly avalanche season is, ironically, largely due to the region’s low snowfall. We talk to Kathy Reed, who hopes to carry on the legacy of Alma Smith Jacobs, Montana’s first Black librarian, and we review two promising debut novels, along with a thriller by a young Indigenous filmmaker. Finally, in “Heard around the West,” we learn that mountain lions don’t belong in basements, and that it’s not necessarily a good idea to invite large wildlife to a big backyard buffet.

Feature

Idaho state lands could end up in private hands
Idaho state lands could end up in private hands
How a developer’s proposed large land swap ignited a fight in small but growing McCall.
The ‘slow-motion genocide’ of the Chinook Indian Nation
The ‘slow-motion genocide’ of the Chinook Indian Nation
Federal recognition provides tribes with critical healthcare and education. What happens to the tribal nations that the U.S. refuses to recognize?

Reportage

Who should pay for conservation?
Who should pay for conservation?
Traditional sources of funding are dwindling, and some believe park visitors should step up.
Montana trans, two spirit and non-binary activists fight anti-trans legislation
Montana trans, two spirit and non-binary activists fight anti-trans legislation
Their advocacy network is striving for a more equitable state while building power across issue lines.
Energy companies have left Colorado with billions of dollars in oil and gas cleanup
Energy companies have left Colorado with billions of dollars in oil and gas cleanup
As the state tries to reform its relationship to drilling, an expensive task awaits.
Albuquerque’s racist history haunts its housing market
Albuquerque’s racist history haunts its housing market
Policymakers and activists fight to remove pro-segregation, anti-immigrant provisions from property deeds.
Under Biden, the BLM backtracks on Hammond grazing permit
Under Biden, the BLM backtracks on Hammond grazing permit
Days before their herd was set to return to public lands near Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, two fire-starting ranchers lose their grazing rights.
The Biden administration’s critical role in  Indian Country
The Biden administration’s critical role in Indian Country
Four important decisions will impact the forests, lands and waters of tribal nations.
Bridging the digital divide in Indian Country
Bridging the digital divide in Indian Country
A new report focuses on internet infrastructure on tribal lands and how tribes can use it to strengthen their sovereignty.

Editor's Note

The importance of being seen
The importance of being seen
Recognition affects the preservation of culture, land and political agency.

Facts & Figures

This year’s deadly avalanche season
This year’s deadly avalanche season
Low snowfall has led to catastrophic conditions around the West.

Conversation

Honoring Montana’s first Black librarian
Honoring Montana’s first Black librarian
Carrying on the legacy of Alma Smith Jacobs requires representation and education.

Perspective

How to reverse Trump’s harmful legacy on conservation
How to reverse Trump’s harmful legacy on conservation
President Biden is off to a good start, but there is much to be done. The Restoration Project has a blueprint.

Review

Across generations, Dakota women grow resilience
Across generations, Dakota women grow resilience
Diane Wilson’s new novel explores the relationship between seeds and humans, and how our survival and abundance are intertwined.
Modern redemption in a small New Mexican town
Modern redemption in a small New Mexican town
Kirstin Valdez Quade’s debut novel depicts everyday Catholicism in a struggling family.
‘Wild Indian’ is much more than just an Indigenous film
‘Wild Indian’ is much more than just an Indigenous film
Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.’s new picture pushes Indigenous cinema into the realm of the thriller genre, but does it go far enough?

Heard Around the West

A punchy cougar; wildlife comms; COVID-safe hugs
A punchy cougar; wildlife comms; COVID-safe hugs
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Take us to the top
Take us to the top
As we pass the tree line, help us summit.
Looking for leaders
Looking for leaders
Our thanks to retiring board members and a quest for new people to help the organization set course.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
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    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
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    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
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    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
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