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Sun, July 15 2018 at 7:00 PM
IHC Offers Four Public Programs Exploring “And Here We Have Idaho: Curating the Gem State”

2018 Teacher Institute PosterThe Idaho Humanities Council will offer four evening programs exploring “And Here We Have Idaho:  Curating the Gem State,” July 15, 16, 17, and 19 at Boise State University’s Student Union Bishop Barnwell Room, 7 p.m. each evening. The public programs are part of a weeklong institute for Idaho teachers analyzing Idaho’s unique position in national history.  Participating teachers will learn about the diverse stories that make up our state as they explore the role Idaho played in shaping larger narratives.

The following lectures are free and open to the public.

Sara SantSunday, July 15, 7 p.m.: “For the Permanent Good:  Idaho and the Greening of the Nation” by Sara Dant

During the long 20th century, as the United States transitioned from Conservation to environmentalism to modern climate change challenges, Idaho played a central and significant role in the arc of national history.  The key turning points in this narrative - federal Reclamation, public lands, wilderness, wild rivers, forest policy, and species reintroduction all have special resonance in the Gem State, and reveal Idaho’s environmental history as both typical and exceptional.  Integrating the state, and particularly the seminal role of its influential Senator Frank Church, into the larger national context provides a more complete understanding of the important ways in which Idaho decisively shaped the greening of the nation.

Sara Dant is Professor and Chair of History at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, whose work focuses on environmental politics in the United States with a particular emphasis on the creation and development of consensus and bi-partisanism.  Dant’s newest book is Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West (Wiley, 2017). 

Gary EllerMonday, July 16, 7 p.m.: “Idaho Songs and Corridos” by Gary Eller and Ana Maria Schachtell

Gary Eller will share songs and stories about some of the remarkable people who shaped Idaho from its first exploration by eastern fur trappers to the environmentalist uprising in the 1970s. Songs highlighting the roles of Native Americans, French Canadians, Irish, Poles, Chinese, Basques, African Americans and other groups in Idaho's development will be included.

Following Eller’s Idaho songs presentation, cultural activist Ana Maria Schachtell will present information about the traditional Mexican corrido or ballad and how this art form is the perfect tool to celebrate the history of the Latinos in Idaho.  Selections will be performed from the stories included in the book Nuestros Corridos: 150 Years of Latino History through Song & Word - 1863-2013, produced through an IHC-funded grant award. 

After a 30-year career in science and engineering in New Mexico, Gary Eller retired to Pickles Butte near Nampa, Idaho in 2004. He began The Idaho Songs Project in 2006, and travels the state presenting early Idaho songs as part of the Idaho Humanities Council Speakers Bureau and for the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He also is a member of the bluegrass band Chicken Dinner Road and The Story Tellers band.  Eller has published 12 CDs with interpretive booklets of historically based Idaho songs.

Ana Maria Schachtell earned her BA in Multi-Cultural/Bilingual Education
from Boise State University. Since 2006 she is the sole proprietor of Sweet Events &
Consulting, offering many services, including consultations in cultural traditions.  She has been a leader in Idaho’s Hispanic community for many years, receiving numerous community awards for her volunteer work.

Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m.: “Neighbor Narratives” by Jannus, Idaho Office for Refugees

This presentation features trained refugee storytellers sharing their experiences. The Neighbor Narratives project developed a refugee speakers bureau to help build bridges between neighbors and change the refugee experience from one of being marginalized, suspected, or feared to one of peace, belonging and happiness.  The stories will celebrate the diversity in our community and explore what makes us all Idahoans.

Susan SwetnamThursday, July 19, 7 p.m.: “Idaho Women, Carnegie Libraries, and Women’s Continuing Influence” by Susan Swetnam

Though many people believe that Idaho has always been conservative in terms of gender roles, around the turn of the century, women’s groups in Idaho were instrumental in ten Idaho towns receiving public library building grants from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.  And, for nearly a hundred years Idaho women and men have been working through the Girl Scout movement to help girls build self-confidence, broaden their intellectual horizons, and take themselves seriously as citizens and leaders. Swetnam will explore the ongoing role of women in Idaho and how the establishment of clubs has improved Idahoans cultural resources and lifestyles.  She will discuss women’s roles in continuing to encourage ongoing civil dialogue and understanding in Idaho communities throughout the state’s history.

Susan Swetnam taught in ISU’s Department of English and Philosophy from 1979 until her retirement in 2013, during that time recognized for outstanding teaching, research, and public service.  Over the years she has authored numerous articles and seven books, most recently Books, Bluster, and Bounty (Utah State University Press), which won the Idaho Library Association’s award for Idaho Book of the Year in 2012.  A former IHC board member, Swetnam received IHC’s 2016 Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award. 

The Idaho Humanities Council offers weeklong summer institutes for Idaho teachers every year, exploring different topics and disciplines of the humanities and covering lodging, meals, texts, and other expenses for Idaho teachers to attend. Past institutes have explored the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Lyndon Johnson, Native American literature, the works of John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, and Ernest Hemingway, the history of the Cold War, the history of the Supreme Court, American roots music, and many other topics.   

For more information contact IHC at (208) 345-5346; or check updated information at

sponsor: Idaho Humanities Council
contact: Cindy Wang
phone: (208) 345-5346
location: Boise State University SUB, 1910 W. University Dr., Barnwell Room, Boise, ID
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