Buffalo will roam the region this summer through the eyes and expertise of historians during the 23rd American West Program at Colorado State. This year’s theme, "The Buffalo: An American Icon," will be explored weekly in June and July by historians visiting from throughout the nation and Canada.
"This year’s program is an exploration of the myths, realities, artistic interpretation and importance of the buffalo to Plains Indians and other tribes," said Harry Rosenberg, history professor and coordinator of the American West series. "Buffalo once covered the Western frontier by the millions, and we’ll be looking at this animal’s profound influence as a means of survival, as a tool of control and as a symbol of the West."
The American West Program opens June 13 with an illustrated lecture by renowned historian Brian Dippie from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Dippie will discuss the artistic depictions of the buffalo hunt, with examples from Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two of the most celebrated Western artists of the genre. The following week will feature a discussion by another acclaimed historian, Elliott West from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville on the changing image of the American bison from the time of Coronado through the current era of mass advertising and movies like "Dances With Wolves."
Sam Arnold, owner of The Fort restaurant in Morrison, Colo., will bring a slightly different discussion to the table on June 27 when he talks about the buffalo as cuisine. Arnold, a food historian, journalist, world traveler and raconteur, has addressed – and prepared a buffalo dinner for – the James Beard Foundation in New York City and was keynote speaker for a symposium on American cuisine in Santa Fe, N.M.
A visit by Bob Palmer, retired Denver television newscaster and anchor, will highlight the program on July 5. Palmer will discuss "The Buffalo Boondoggle of 1872: A Visit to Colorado by Gen. George Custer and the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia."
Palmer, who retired in 1997 after a 40-year career as a writer, reporter and newscaster for stations KCNC-TV and KMGH-TV, will discuss how the 12-year-old frontier town of Denver was called upon to entertain "a glittering array of hard-partying luminaries," including Custer, Gen. Philip Sheridan and Alexis, the 22-year-old son of Czar Alexander II of Russia.
In conjunction with the American West Program, the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center will present "Images of the West" by artist Bob Coonts beginning June 12. An opening reception for the exhibit will run 8:30-10 p.m. June 13 at the gallery.
Call 491-6444 for gallery and student center hours.
Following is a schedule of events for the American West Program. All talks begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room C146 Plant Sciences Building and are free and open to the public.
For more information, call Rosenberg at 491-5230.
- June 13 – "Flying Buffaloes: Artists and the Buffalo Hunt," Brian Dippie, historian, University of Victoria, British Columbia.
- June 20 – "Icons on the Hoof: Changing Images of the Buffalo," Elliott West, historian, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
- June 27 – "Bison – A Millennium Entree," Sam Arnold, owner, The Fort restaurant, Morrison.
- July 5 – "The Buffalo Boondoggle of 1872," Bob Palmer, retired television newscaster and anchor.
- July 11 – "The Return of the American Bison," Harold Danz, retired National Park Service administrator and executive director of the American Bison Association.
- July 18 – "When I was a boy, I wanted to be like Buffalo Bill: Now that I’m older, I still want to be Buffalo Bill," Tom Morrison, superintendent of Buffalo Bill Ranch Historical Park, North Platte, Neb.
- July 25 – "The Importance of the Buffalo in Plains Indian Religion and Culture," JoAllyn Archambault, member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and director of the American Indian Program at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution.