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Omaha tribe works to save historic Walthill hospital built by first Native American doctor

August 26, 2018

Buffalo Doug

Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital

Dolly A. Butz has a report in the Sioux City Journal about efforts to fundraise and restore a historical hospital on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill, NE. Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte, a Presbyterian, built it in 1912. You can read more about it all here.

Also, see my earlier post on Susan LaFlesche Picotte.

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Where to Find God

August 11, 2018

I grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, near the edge of the Black Hills. Just behind my home was a church building that housed a number of different congregations over the years – a white evangelical church, a Native Christian church, a Lutheran church, and now, the last I checked, an Orthodox church.

As I grew up, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit met me in conversations with my parents, in an Evangelical Free basement after Awana, during an Assemblies of God worship service, and at youth group meetings at Hope Christian Reformed Church. While the Reformed tradition has a hold on me, these other traditions (and more) also play a role in how I see God at work.

So begins Northwestern College alum Keith Starkenburg’s reflections on “place” and the sacred. You may read his entire piece at The Twelve here.

In this rapaciously dry year, a quiet question grows louder: What are we doing here?

August 10, 2018

Four years ago, my fiancé, Colin, and I decided to move to New Mexico. We had been living in a secluded river valley in western Colorado, but both of us were venturing into self-employment and thought it’d be easier in a bigger town. So we rigged our pickup with a load the Beverly Hillbillies would have admired — furniture, lamps, buckets full of pottery glaze — and drove south. We crossed the Chama River, turned left into the Española Valley, and stopped at a Lotaburger for the cheap thrill of green chile on a fast-food cheeseburger. The burger was bad but the chile was hot, and I was happy. I’d waited my whole life to make this move.

So begins Cally Carswell’s fine essay on drought and a place–Santa Fe, New Mexico. You may read the rest of her High Country News piece here.


July 17, 2018

An aerial view of Kotzebue, Alaska.

Twenty-six miles above the Arctic Circle, in Kotzebue, Alaska, there’s a plain white metal trailer in the center of town that blends in with the snowy tundra during the winter. From the outside, it looks like an office or a perhaps a single-family home, but it’s actually a modern-day ice-cellar, or Siglauq, where hunters from across Inuit villages throughout northern Alaska can donate meat to be inspected, packaged, and served in the northernmost nursing home in the United States.

So begins Charlee Catherine Dyrhoff’s Pacific Standard story on providing traditional food for Inuit elderly in the Alaskan town of Kotzebue. You may read the entire story here.

An Iowa Governor Worth Remembing: Robert E. Ray, 1928-2018

July 9, 2018

Image result for Robert Ray Tai Dam

My friend Jim Schaap has posted a fine remembrance of former Governor Ray. It is worth your read, here.

Is Bezos holding Seattle hostage? The cost of being Amazon’s home

July 4, 2018

Pedestrians and cyclists gather near the Bezos balls in Seattle. The conservatories are modelled on the greenhouses at London’s Kew Gardens.

However they see Amazon, for good or ill, residents of the fastest-growing city in the US largely agree on the price Seattlehas paid to be the home of the megacorporation: surging rents, homelessness, traffic-clogged streets, overburdened public transport, an influx of young men in polo shirts and a creeping uniformity rubbing against the city’s counterculture.

So begins Chris McGreal’s report in The Guardian on Seattle and Amazon. You may read the rest of this piece on place here.

The Woman Who Transformed How We Teach Geography

May 14, 2018


On the morning of October 30, 1916, Zonia Baber stood in front of four hundred government officials and leaders in the arts and sciences and told them to go to hell.

As a representative of the University of Chicago, where she taught geography, Baber was testifying in court on behalf of the Sand Dunes of Indiana, which she argued were deserving of National Park status. She concluded by saying: “I can truthfully say that I should like to believe in the old orthodox Hades for the people who will not save the dunes now for the people who are to come.” Today, the sand dunes are part of the protected Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

So begins Leila McNeill’s concise account of Zonia Baber’s contributions to the field of geography. You may read the rest of her post here.

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