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IN KOTZEBUE, ALASKA, HUNTERS ARE BRINGING TRADITIONAL FOODS—AND A SENSE OF COMFORT—TO THEIR LOCAL ELDERS

17 Jul

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

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.

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The Mystery Man Who Spent 20 Years Photographing North American Buildings

10 Jul
Grand Forks, North Dakota, May 1990.

Grand Forks, North Dakota, May 1990.

In May of 1982, Barry Gfeller left his home in Camas, Washington,* got into his car, and began to drive.

His plan was similar to eight previous road trips he’d already taken, and 14 more he would embark on in the years to come: to photograph the streets and buildings of towns across the United States and Canada. For nearly two decades, Gfeller would periodically hit the road to continue what became a mammoth photographic survey. In May 1982 alone, he photographed over 200 towns, traveling as far north as Edmonton and as far east as Milwaukee. When Gfeller died in 1999, his collection—which he arranged alphabetically, stored in long wooden boxes—consisted of 50,000 prints and negatives.

“Ultimately, Gfeller drove over 100,000 miles across 44 states and six Canadian provinces between 1977 and 1996,” says Mike O’Neill, a political strategist who first learned about Gfeller in 2016. After Gfeller died, the collection made its way from his estate to a Canadian charity. Sixteen years later, the charity asked O’Neill to help find a buyer who could donate the work to a museum. They didn’t have to look far. Fascinated, O’Neill purchased the collection himself in 2017. He’s now begun to digitize the prints, and is searching for a long-term home for Gfeller’s archive.

So begins Anika Burgess’s fascinating post about Barry Gfeller the photographer. You may read the rest of story, with sample photographs, at Atlas Obscura here.

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

9 Jul

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

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.

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A History of Pizza

26 Jun

Fast food outlet: a Neapolitan pizza seller, 19th century.

Pizza is the world’s favourite fast food. We eat it everywhere – at home, in restaurants, on street corners. Some three billion pizzas are sold each year in the United States alone, an average of 46 slices per person. But the story of how the humble pizza came to enjoy such global dominance reveals much about the history of migration, economics and technological change.

So begins Alexander Lee’s concise “slice” of the history of pizza. You may read the rest of his piece at History Today here.

Understanding nakba and the recent past for Palestinians: a history lesson

15 May

Hussein Ibish provides a concise historical account of Palestinian history in relation to nakba. You may read his entire post at The Atlantic here.

The Woman Who Transformed How We Teach Geography

14 May

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

Baber2.jpg

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 Smithsonian.com post here.

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Siouxland Ozymandias

8 May

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

Oddly enough, the empire began by way of a very sore bum. An Englishman named William Brooks Close, who, with his brothers, was in Philadelphia for a rowing match in 1876, so banged up his posterior in practice, that he could not sit without pillows. While the rest of the crew continued to work out, but he had to sit out.

So my friend Jim Schaap begins his latest regional story at KWIT–this time, about the Close brothers of England who purchased large quantities of Siouxland acres in the 1870s and 1880s. You may read his entire story here.

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