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Ken Egan & Granville Stuart: Manifest Destiny, 1864

A Brief History of Butte, Montana

"In 1864, men in a hurry journeyed to the region known as the headwaters of the Missouri. Called by gold, they were in a rush to acquire and ascend, whether through gold-mining, freighting and selling goods to the miners, raising wheat and cattle, organizing and leading a new government, or other, less reputable means."  Ken Egan describes the collision between native cultures, with their traditions of gift-giving, oral history, and piety, and a burgeoning population of American opportunists. 

Granville Stuart's memoir of this period, "Forty Years on the Frontier," writes out of history the very native people he claims to mourn: "I came to what is now our magnificent state of Montana when it was a trackless wilderness, the only white inhabitants being Jesuit fathers, and a few Indian traders and trappers at the missions and trading posts; when the mountains and valleys were the homes of countless herds of buffalo, elk, deer, moose, antelope, bear, and mountain sheep; when the streams swarmed with fish and beaver and the Indians were rich and respectable."

(Broadcast: "Reflections West," 01/07/15 and 07/15/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Wednesdays at 4:54 p.m.)

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