Today in New West news: an update on the National Bison Range, Montana’s House Rep race, rare Audubon prints donated to University of Utah, and StatusPage moving to San Francisco.
Earlier this year, we reported that ownership/management of the National Bison Range could transfer hands from federal authorities to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The Range occupies land previously held/traveled by the tribes, and was previously incorporated in the Flathead Reservation before being transferred in 1908. The CSKT have been very interested in having ownership/management of the Range transferred to them—a desire the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reportedly happy to oblige, according to the Flathead Beacon:
Last month, the CSKT released a proposal that would remove the range from the National Wildlife Refuge System and place it back into federal trust ownership for the tribes.
The CSKT held a public meeting June 12 to discuss the proposed legislation to restore the National Bison Range to federal trust ownership, which tribal leaders said includes management for bison conservation purposes as well as continued public access.
Representatives of local conservation groups and the offices of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke attended the meeting. While the delegation is involved in ongoing dialogue with the tribes in developing draft legislative language, they have neither supported nor opposed the transfer.
Denise Juneau, Montana’s superintendent for public instruction and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, expressed strong support for the transfer plan.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has called the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ wildlife management program one of the best in the country,” Juneau said. “I’m pleased the federal government and the tribes have entered into meaningful discussions about the possibility of restoring the National Bison Range back to CSKT.”
Tribal attorneys presented and explained the draft legislation to attendees, who then broke into smaller groups where they had the opportunity to ask questions with staff from the tribal natural resources and legal departments.
Tribal leaders hailed the meeting as a strong barometer of support, particularly as it drew approximately 150 members of the public.
“We were very pleased with the public participation,” said Tribal Chairman Vernon Finley. “We want to create an open and transparent forum for our fellow Montanans to have a say in this process.”
Speaking of Montana politics, the race between incumbent Ryan Zinke (R) and Denise Juneau (D) for Montana’s U.S. House of Representatives seat has been curiously quiet, according to the Associated Press (by way of the Flathead Beacon). We say “curiously quiet,” because the race itself pits together two of the most dynamically contrasted individuals in politics right now.
On the right you have Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander and freshman representative who made waves by announcing he’d speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and was one of the first to endorse presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. And on the left you have Juneau, Montana’s two-term superintendent of schools, who, if elected, would become the state’s first ever Native American U.S. representative. Further, she would be only the second woman from Montana to serve in the House.
Although Juneau is the “clear underdog” in this race, and Zinke expects to get a boost from his RNC appearance, some pundits are saying the race is closer than it may appear—and is overall more fascinating than the gubernatorial race between incumbent Steve Bullock (D) and challenger Greg Gianforte (R). From the Beacon:
In the money race, Zinke has an advantage. According to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election commission, Zinke had $1.2 million left in the bank as of June 30, even after burning through $2.6 million. Juneau reported having nearly $811,000 in cash reserves and is counting on strong financial support from the Democratic Party and Emily’s list, the political action committee that is working to advance women in politics.
“Even if Juneau does not raise as much as Zinke, she will raise enough to be competitive in terms of being able to advertise and make her case to voters,” said Jeremy Johnson, a political science professor at Carroll College.
Zinke’s national stature could rise Monday when he addresses the GOP National Convention in Cleveland about national security and global terrorism.
In a statement, he said he was “excited to join Republicans from around the country to put Montana in the spotlight while we work together to move American foreign policy in the right direction.”
Most pundits expect Montana to remain Republican territory, but Juneau points out that some outside analysts consider her race among the ones to watch in a year that has already confounded expectations. The last Democrat to win the U.S. House seat was Pat Williams in 1994.
“People disregard that a Democrat can win this race,” Juneau said. “I’ve always been an underdog in every race that I’ve run. … I’m used to close elections. I know where I have to go to get votes.”
By most accounts, Juneau needs strong turnout from Native Americans, who represent about 8 percent of the state’s population. Native Americans usually favor Democrats, and that’s why Juneau has made frequent trips to Indian reservations across the state.
Zinke, however, isn’t about to cede the Native vote. He touts his record of supporting Native American issues, including relaxing rules that are preventing new coal leases on tribal lands and supporting water compacts with tribes.
“As the only congressman from Montana,” Zinke said, “I represent those who voted for me, those who didn’t vote for me and those who will never vote for me.”
Over in Utah, according to a University of Utah press release, the institution has received a set of rare prints drawn and hand-colored by renowned naturalist John James Audubon. Lonnie and Shannon Paulos, all told, donated thirteen prints, to the university’s J. Willard Marriott Library. They are worth an estimated $250,000. From the University press release:
After the original edition of “The Birds of North America” was produced (1827-1838), Audubon began work with his two sons and naturalist John Bachman on the “The Quadrupeds of North America.” This work focused on mammals, and was smaller in both scope and execution than the “Birds” and contained 150 plates. The size of the prints are roughly 22 inches by 28 inches versus the “Birds” 39.5 inches by 28.5 inches. The printmaking technique differs between the two projects as well: copperplate etching and aquatint for the “Birds” versus stone lithography for the “Quadrupeds.”
“This donation increases our Audubon holdings significantly,” said Todd Samuelson, assistant dean for special collections. “This remarkable collection brings together many of the most iconic and sought-after images from the ‘Quadrupeds,’ with each plate professionally presented in museum-style frames.”
The prints will be on display from now until September 9 in a special, free exhibition in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Marriott Library.
Finally, according to the Denver Business Journal, Denver-based communication technology firm StatusPage has been purchased by San Francisco-based Atlassian, who will be moving StatusPage (and all 15 employees) to the Golden City. The move will make StatusPage a subsidiary of Atlassian. From a StatusPage blog post:
“We’ve always admired how Atlassian has grown profitably over the years by focusing on building great products within a culture centered around customer trust. One of their core values is (literally) “don’t #@!% the customer”! In a world of unicorns, amazing burn rates, and grow-at-all-costs cultures, there isn’t a better company we could have chosen to join.”