John Ryan Fischer: Indian Cowboys in California

The stories of Indian laborers often feel secondary to the spaces and stories of the Franciscan fathers, despite the fact that the missions were primarily centers of Indian work. The fathers hoped that productivity would lead to a surer conversion while they also made a profit, especially from the products of cattle in the form of hides and tallow that they sold to British and American ships along the Pacific coast. There are certainly signs of this work throughout the missions—from tallow vats to tanneries—and La Purisma stands out to me as a site that focuses on the type of work that its mostly Chumash inhabitants did on a daily basis. Beyond the missions, Indians as workers are even less visible in public presentations of California’s historical memory. Vaquero parades, rodeos, and festivals are rare, and the role of Indians in those festivals is small to nonexistent.

There are a few likely reasons for this omission. Continue Reading John Ryan Fischer: Indian Cowboys in California

Celebrating B.W. Wells

Today we remember the late B. W. Wells, plant ecologist, conservationist, and author of The Natural Gardens of North Carolina. On March 26th, Rock Cliff Farm, Wells’s place of retirement, is celebrating B.W. Wells Heritage Day, with tours, activities, giveaways, and exhibits that recall the life and work of this pioneering ecologist.  His work lives… Continue Reading Celebrating B.W. Wells

Interview: Jennifer Frick-Ruppert on Appalachian ecology

There are about 35 million acres of beautiful mountains that extend from northern Virginia down to north Georgia. They’ve been going through a glorious transformation of color over the last few weeks. If you’ve never visited the Appalachians in fall, you’re missing out on a breathtaking treat from nature. In Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural… Continue Reading Interview: Jennifer Frick-Ruppert on Appalachian ecology

Congrats to Carolyn Merchant, winner of ASEH’s Distinguished Scholar Award

We are happy as clams—and horses and chickens and goats and all creatures, really—to announce that today, at the American Society for Environmental History’s annual meeting in Portland, our author Carolyn Merchant, receives the Distinguished Scholar Award for her significant contribution to environmental history scholarship. Professor Merchant has focused, throughout her career, on human interactions… Continue Reading Congrats to Carolyn Merchant, winner of ASEH’s Distinguished Scholar Award