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Reconciling family narrative with textbook history in Montana’s Bighorn Valley — High Country News

September 20, 2013

Buffalo Doug

Cody, Wy was home for my wife and I for a sabbatical year 2002-2003. Mostly, we hung out at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (renamed the Buffalo Bill Center for the West).

Occasionally, though, we went east to the Bighorn River Valley. We were only day visitors, not residents, but we saw enough to see how it was a place to fall in love with.

Writer Joe Wilkins writes about the Bighorn Valley in the latest High Country News.

On the one hand, the historical record, notes Wilkins, is bleak:

The American West is, at its deep heart’s core, a society built on genocide and thievery and sustained by the denial of both.

On the other hand, the stories his grandmother tells of her immigrant Irish family living amidst the Crow people belie the record.

He concludes:

Some 80 years ago, I guess, my great-grandfather and his family were…

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