Last week we heard from 103-year-old Margaret Carranza, who came from Mexico to Montana's Yellowstone River Valley when she was a girl to work in the sugar beet fields. This week we will hear the story of how her family finally acquired a farm of their own - only to have it taken away.
Inside Looking Out: Native Voices In A Montana Prison ("Mountain West Voices," October 19, 2015)
Producer Clay Scott visits Montana State Prison, where Native inmates are taking part in a traditional sweat lodge ceremony. As they wait their turn outside the sweat lodge, they talk about life in prison, and their memories and dreams of life beyond the walls.
Susan Sanford's father pushed her to leave the family's isolated farm in north-central Montana so she could experience the world. After her father's death, Susan and her husband Brian return to the farm, and, in a place so remote that the nearest store is a five hour round trip, discover beauty in small things.
Saint Marie, in a remote part of northeastern Montana, is the site of an Air Force base that was shut down in 1968. Now 500 people live in a town that was designed to house 12,000. Nine out of ten houses are boarded up and choked with weeds. But in this setting - winter temperatures drop to minus 40, the nearest store is 20 miles away, and one resident admits it looks like a war zone - there is a thriving community of hardy souls intent on being left alone.
Crying For Eddie: A Vietnam War Nurse Tells Her Story ("Mountain West Voices," November 17, 2014 and May 9, 2016)
Diane Carlson Evans was a U.S. Army Nurse during the Vietnam War. She survived indescribable trauma, felt resented when she returned to the U.S., and kept her bitterness and her tears inside for many years. Then she founded the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project, and helped hundreds of women vets tell their stories of Vietnam.
Dean Blount was a Cold War-era Russian language specialist in Turkey. Back home on Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation, he is trying to ensure that his two Native languages - Dakota and Nakota - are passed on. At the Presbyterian church where he is a lay minister, he has taught his tiny congregation to sing hymns in Dakota.
Montana arachnologist, artist and feminist Dr. Bea Vogel has studied and worked all over the U.S., but found her way back to Helena, Montana: "(Some people) feel that they're owned by where they live. I've always felt that way: I'm of Montana; I need to be here. This is just about my idea of paradise."
The second installment of the story of Joyce Vashro, an Englishwoman who married a U.S. serviceman and came to Montana 70 years ago. She and her baby embarked on the Queen Mary with 2800 other war brides. Like them, she says she hardly knew the husband she was rejoining, and had no idea what awaited her in Montana.
6/4/14: This week on "Mountain West Voices:" George Nickel survived the roadside bomb that killed his comrades in Iraq. Back home in Boise, Idaho, his readjustment to civilian life was a disaster. An armed standoff with Boise police led to jail, and almost a year of solitary confinement. Now George's life is dedicated to helping other combat veterans make the difficult transition to non-military life.