HPPR Arts, Culture & History

History:
prehistory
Native American history
early exploration
trails and railroads
homesteading
community settlement
farming & farm life
Dust Bowl era
ghost towns
personal remembrances & biographies

Culture:
ethnic groups
religion
language
cuisine
traditions
values
folklore
myths
humor

Arts:
literature
folk art
visual arts
music
theatre
events & festivals

dariennewsonline.com

Easter is about much more than egg hunts and a big ol’ rabbit posing for pictures with little ones. However, in small towns across Kansas such festivities remind winter -weary children and adults that spring truly has arrived. With the promise of sugary treats, hope rises like sap in tots impatient to collect brightly colored eggs tempting them from a green lawn. Their enthusiasm should be bottled and sold.

Venison Pastrami

Mar 25, 2016
Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week for some hands on, step-by-step instructions in making pastrami and corned venison at home! Many people might be surprised to learn that making corned beef (or corned venison) has very much in common with making pastrami. Both tasty sandwiches cuts require curing the meat first. After curing, pastrami is seasoned and either baked or slow smoked. Corned beef or corned venison is slow simmered for a couple hours after curing. Luke goes into great detail this week in describing the process.   

Ridin' the Plains

Mar 24, 2016

In A Strong West Wind, an account of a Texas high plains girlhood, author Gail Caldwell evokes a sense of place through many descriptive passages, often involving her father. She writes, for example, “When I was a girl of nine or ten, my dad would take me along on autumn dawns to go quail and dove hunting, out to the far reaches of the Caprock, past towns named Muleshoe and Dimmitt to prairies so remote and unrelenting that even the phone lines seemed to disappear as we drove into morning light.

Cindee Talley

I’m a High Plains Public Radio Book Club reader from Northwest Kansas. It’s time to think about our third novel of this season, A Strong West Wind by native West Texan Gail Caldwell. The question that comes to mind is how does this memoir enhance our understanding of place? As one would expect, it’s different from Plainsong and Summer of the Comanche Moon. Based on reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble, it’s a book readers either love or hate. With such strong responses in mind, it’s important to focus on insights this author’s memories offer this unique book club’s membership.

Xing Lida / Wikimedia Commons

You may know your state flower, but do you know your state fossil? According to The Atlantic, since the 1960s, most US states have elected their own official fossils. Often, the choice comes down to a dinosaur that was discovered in the region. For example, Colorado has claimed the Stegosaurus, since the plate-backed dinosaur was first found there.

Jonathan Baker

I’m a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk a little about this month’s Radio Readers Book Club Read, A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell. Gail’s story is a familiar one to me. In fact, my story mirrors hers in many ways. Both Gail and I grew up feeling isolated on the High Plains, and escaped into books. We both left the Panhandle for Austin, where we both rebelled, discovered politics, and sowed our wild oats.

Almost Empty Nest

Mar 18, 2016
Vincent Mancini

I’ve observed a great-horned owl on her nest for the past three months. This triggered a reflection on parenting similarities humans and critters share. It also added questions to those already swirling about my busy brain. One of those is do birds experience a sense of unsettledness like the one humans have when their young first leave home? After surviving those aching months when our youngest moved away, leaving behind an unnaturally quiet house, I recall a moment when my husband and I looked at one another, and said something along the lines of, “We’re going to have to relearn what a world without kids is like.”  

Luke Clayton

Luke Clayton here. Let's head out to my little "meat processing" building behind the house today and I'll show you how to make some very tasty snack stick from ground venison and wild pork. 

Today, we're making Salami flavored meat sticks. We'll use the sausage stuffer with the small tube and crank out about ten pounds. Through the years, I have experimented with purchasing all the various spices, mixing them with proper amount of cure and blending them with ground meat. But I've found a much better way! Now, I get the Snack Stick sampler kit from Butcher Packer Supply  www.butcher-packer.com. This kit contains everything needed for making 10 pounds of salami snack sticks, 10 pounds of deer hunter blend and 10 pounds of Teriyaki flavored sticks...The blend of spices is perfect and after they are smoked, I freeze the little snacks sticks for a quick snack (or in some cases, a MEAL) when out hunting or fishing. 

Last Buffalo Hunt

Mar 17, 2016
en.wikipedia.org

Hello, Radio Readers! We’re reading and discussing a High Plains sense of place with Sam Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon, a social history, as Gwynne writes, of “the rise and fall of the Comanche. “ After thirty-some years, the Comanche capitulated to the US, surrendering horses and weapons in exchange for life on a reservation. There, Gwynne writes, “everything that defined Comanche existence” was exchanged for “crude squalor….hunger and desperation and dependency” – benefits promised to the Comanche turned out to be insufficient, paltry, and shoddy. Gwynne suggests that those who adopted and adapted to white ways did so to survive, even as they tried to preserve their culture, however vestigially.

JD Hancock / Creative Commons

Today is St. Patrick’s day, and the economic website Wallethub has published some interesting facts about this most Irish of holidays. Just over half of Americans plan to celebrate St. Patty’s this year. And 82% of those celebrants plan to wear green (no word on what the other 18% plan to wear). In Chicago, the city pours 45 pounds of vegetable-based dye into the river to turn it green. The color goes away after five hours—though some say the color never really goes away.

Native Americans in Film

Mar 15, 2016
Paul Phillips

KATHLEEN HOLT :  Talk a little bit about Native Americans and film.  I think when we talk about the High Plains and a sense of place, we often think of it in terms of white settlement…

TOM AVERILL:  Well, yeah.  We also start with white exploration . .

TOM PRASCH:  As if there wasn’t anything to see

TOM AVERILL:  As if nothing existed until there was a white person to see it.  So, Coronado is our first tourist looking for the Seven Cities of Gold and unhappy with what he found.

TOM PRASCH:  They are figures in that whole conquest of the West motif.  You know one of our theme  when we look at Kansas film and literature is that whole manifest destiny sensibility that this is ours to settle and it is part of this drive that is going to push us to California and the rest.  And because most film making for most of the history of film has been told from that perspective, it gets a little hard to tell the Native American story.  And, in fact, we only really get a kind of counter reaction to that with the rise of AIM and Native American rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s and that’s when you get  Dustin Hoffman’s Little Big Man.   And there is an Altman film about that time – Sitting Bull – Oh,  Custer and Altman taking on the Custer story.  Suddenly, you get the sense that, “Oh, gee. We have been leaving some stuff out here.”  

ANC News

The website onlyinyourstate.com recently published a list of fascinating Texas facts that you probably didn’t learn in school. For example, did you know the Ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas is the largest in the Western hemisphere? Or that El Paso is closer to the city of Needles, California, than it is to Dallas, Texas? How about that the last battle of the Civil War was fought in Texas?

Katharine Du / NPR

NPR.org recently took a look at the connection between genius and food. And they discovered that some of history’s greatest minds had some very peculiar dining habits. The French writer Honore de Balzac, for example, drank 50 cups of espresso a day. He died at age 51 . . . of caffeine poisoning. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras hated beans so much that he forbade his followers from even touching them.

CJ Janovy / KCUR

There’s a strange sort of art gallery in the Kansas town of Volland. Inside, the gallery is pretty much like any other. Art and photography hangs from the walls, and visitors wander among the offerings munching cheese cubes. It’s when you go outside that things get really interesting, reports KGOU. The gallery isn’t on Main Street or tucked into the back of a coffee shop. This art gallery is surrounded by the vast spaces of the Kansas prairie.

U.S. Forest Service

Researchers in Colorado have unearthed an extremely rare fossil, reports weather.com. In fact, the fish fossil is one of only three in the world. Paleontologist Bruce Schumacher discovered the complete skull of the fish during a geological survey at the Comanche National Grassland in southeastern Colorado.

Western History Collections / University of Oklahoma

70 years ago Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was refused admittance to the University of Oklahoma’s law school. The reason? The color of her skin. State law mandated the segregation of public educational institutions. The ensuing legal battle made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court two years later, notes member station KGOU.

Paul Phillips

Before my students read a section of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s travel journal about his exploration of Texas, I had them write directions from their house to a nearby destination. It sounded like a simple assignment until I add these qualifiers. They couldn’t use man-made landmarks or addresses in their instructions, nor could they use vehicles or GPS systems. They were limited to foot travel, and they needed to depend on the sun and stars for directions.

Bettman / Corbis

Dinosaurs have become an everyday part of the American imagination. From Jurassic World to The Good Dinosaur, we encounter these ancient behemoths perhaps more than we even realize. But how did this obsession come about? It happened largely thanks to the efforts of one man: Barnum Brown. Brown was born in frontier Kansas in 1873. Named after the great showman P.T. Barnum, Brown would grow up to become a master promoter in his own right.

Buffalo: A Mobile Commissary

Mar 11, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Comanche’s sense of place.  I once visited the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma – part of the High Plains once populated by both Comanche and buffalo.  The prairie that day was punctuated with wandering beasts – this time by longhorn cattle as well as buffalo in an ironic, if not strange and symbolic centuries-later depiction of the events explored in Empire of the Summer Moon.

Comancheria

Mar 10, 2016

I’m a former Kansas poet laureate. Comancheria is home to many Plains Indian groups. My grandfather of Delaware Indian heritage was among the dislocated Eastern Natives who settled on the Kansas Plains of the 19th century.

History is alive in the works of Native poets. N. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa, gained national recognition in 1969 as a Pulitzer Prize winning author. His works present the Native oral tradition as a sophisticated way to preserve culture. He influences many contemporary Native poets.

Colorado Columbines

Mar 8, 2016
rosemarywashington.wordpress.com

 This week we’ll revisit a series on state flowers that belong to the areas that High Plains Public Radio serves.  We’ll start by traveling to colorful Colorado and a look at their glorious mountain columbines.   

Nautdah or Cynthia

Mar 8, 2016
texastrailoffame.org

Hello, HPPR Radio Readers!

Midway through “Empire of the Summer Moon,” we return to Cynthia Ann Parker’s story.  Parker was nine years old when captured during a Comanche raid. For decades, her family had searched for her. Sound familiar? perhaps you’ve read Alan LeMay’s novel or seen John Ford’s film The Searchers. In both, once found by her kin, happiness follows.

Of course, real life isn’t like the movies. In fact, Parker wasn’t found until 24 years later, during the winter of 1860.  Texas Rangers were about to kill a survivor of their raid on a Comanche camp, when someone noticed her blonde hair and blue eyes , and putting aside his weapons, concluded he had just rescued the long-lost Cynthia Ann Parker.  After questioning and dressed in Texan clothing, she was returned to her Parker kin, none of whom spoke Comanche or Spanish, two languages with which Cynthia Ann was fluent.  She did learn or recall some English, but she continued to speak and sing in Comanche. She seemed not to think of herself as Cynthia Ann but as Nautdah. Worse, she seemed not to see herself as “rescued” or “saved” but as “captured” and “lost,” so much so that she had to be closely watched or locked up to prevent her from running away. This, especially, in Gwynne’s account, the Parkers did not understand.  Pulled back  to a culture not valuing pluralism, pulled back to a world Gwynne characterizes as “taffeta chairs in drawing rooms on the outer edges of the Industrial Revolution,” Nautdah was left to herself. Once she’d been moved to eastern Texas, according to Gwynne, she quit her escape attempts, dying not long after, most believed, of a broken heart.

okstate.edu

In a recent Hutchinson News editorial, Jim Schinstock considered the advances in technology it took for a Kansas farmboy to sit in a swivel chair and stare at a computer screen. As he ponders his swivel chair, he realizes it, too, was invented by a farmboy of sorts—though the man lived in Virginia 200 years ago. The inventor’s name was Thomas Jefferson. But Jefferson didn’t just come up with new chair technology.

Empire of the Summer Moon takes me home

Mar 3, 2016
Oklahoma Historical Society

I grew up outside Frederick, Oklahoma, about 30 miles from Cache, the final home of Quanah Parker.  I remember as a kid seeing Star House close to a little amusement park where my sister and I learned to roller skate.  I wondered who might have lived in that house and why someone had painted such a big white star on its roof. 

When I visited the Wichita Wildlife Refuge near Cache and Lawton and watched small herds of buffalo as they ambled across the road in front of our car, I thought about the Plains Indians. I wondered how that grassland country would have looked when huge herds roamed there during Quanah Parker’s early years.  

This is a contradictory land

Mar 2, 2016
azquotes.com

HPPR Radio Readers are talking about books that explore life on the High Plains.  Kent Haruf’s novel, Plainsong, gave us opportunities to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly in our small, often isolated, towns.

Our current book, SC Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon, considers our Western heritage, as fought in the 1800s on the high plains of central and west Texas.  When settlers moved in, fencing and cultivating land that had always been open and without borders, the Comanche attacked.

Karen Madorin

Lex Nichols:

I was born and raised in Rocky Ford on the Arkansas River.  My dad still has a farm there.  Part of the Cherokee Trail ran through there up to Pueblo, Fountain and I believe it went on up and hooked to the Overland Trail that went up to Wyoming. My father has been working the field and plowed up some “mitades” and so we know that they stayed there. When I do recordings, I record my bird sounds and use them in my recordings, I try to do everything natural.

Kansas Memory

For me, history depicted in Empire of the Summer Moon is among the saddest in America. Though I didn’t expect a different outcome, the story isn’t easier to accept. Author S.C. Gwynne provides ample background about the geography, sociology, and history of a cultural collision that rocked this region for decades. Even today, we deal with ripple effects Frederick Jackson Turner might attribute to his Frontier thesis, explaining these incidents made our nation what it is.

Initial chapters establish the difficulties of life beyond the 98th meridian where forested land turns to prairie unprotected from searing summer winds and blue northers that dramatically alter landscapes within minutes. Gwynne knows it’s critical for the reader to understand that in any story about the Great Plains, landscape and weather function as antagonists capable of destroying the unprepared.

eatocracy.cnn.com

A look at what’s being served up on the tables of New York exposes lots of crawlies that some people proclaim to be creepy and others think are delicious.  And a bit of investigation exposes a world wide market for bugs that might help stave off starvation for some, while helping to save the planet for all of us.  

AP photo

The country has been mourning the loss of one of its most beloved novelists, Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. But The Wichita Eagle recently pointed out Lee’s role in the writing of another American classic, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Harper Lee and Capote had been friends since childhood.

Paul Phillips

From the Panhandle of Texas to the southern regions of South Dakota, the High Plains has a landscape generally characterized as flat and monotonous.  American explorers traveling west from the eastern wooded areas were not impressed with the “sea of grasses” they found covering the region, and proclaimed the area to be part of the “Great American Desert” unfit for agricultural settlement. 

American settlement arrived later, but this sea of grass was already home to many pastoral tribes, including the Comanche - peoples who had developed a nomadic lifestyle, following and hunting the more than 60 million buffalo that moved in herds across these vast grasslands.  As you will read in the Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne, the buffalo was key to the Comanche’s survival, providing food, shelter, and tools.

Pages