Montana Mosaic

  • Montana Mosaic: Youth of the 1930s - Work and Recreation

    The particular effect of the Great Depression was especially troublesome for children at that time.  This was really the first time that child developmentalists and child psychologists could observe firsthand how the prolonged effects of an economic downturn on children.  Fathers left home to seek work elsewhere, leaving many single-parent households.  As a result, the New Deal had many programs designed specifically for youth – both educational and social - in an effort to offset the social changes that the economy was wreaking on families, schools, and communities.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Women Homesteaders in Montana

    Immigrants changed Montana’s economic, political, and social fabric. They directly affected Montana Indian tribes by taking up non-allotment lands on reservations. The homestead ‘bust’ (1917–1930) proved just as dramatic as the ‘boom.’ Farms were abandoned, markets disappeared and towns died. Only the most resilient of settlers adapted to the new conditions and survived, becoming the core of Montana’s current agricultural community.  Contrary to popular opinion, homesteading wasn't for men only - women were able to "prove up" too and these hearty women also changed the fabric of Montana's early years.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: The New Deal in Montana

    Following World War I, Montana slipped into a deep depression that ran right through the 1920s. When the nation dropped into the Great Depression in 1929, Montana struggled even harder. Drought compounded the economic failure and forced some Montanans to abandon the state for the West Coast. Others worked to be self-sufficient. Montana’s mining, timber, and railroad industries bottomed out. The New Deal programs became a lifeline for the economy of Montana – roads and dams set the stage for later tourism and irrigation.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Unintended Consequences of Indian Boarding Schools

    Those who thought that boarding schools would "take the Indian of the man" did not realize the far-reaching effects that could result.  Indeed, many children lost touch with their families, language, customs and culture.  But many bonded with children of other Native Nations and a whole political movement was a by-product of that as was the quest for political power.  There was also a lot of intermarriage which dilutes the blood quannum (used to determine whether or not an individual qualifies as a tribal member) which may affect a Native nation economically and socially.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Superfund Cleanup in Montana

    In many ways the story of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, through the first seven decades of the 20th century, best illustrates trends in the Montana economy. The Anaconda Company dominated the state’s metals industry and influenced other business sectors. The Company’s ultimate demise tells a larger tale about the shift in Montana’s economic base. Designation as a Superfund Cleanup Site shook citizens who were constitutionally guaranteed a “clean and healthful” environment. 

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: The Promise of Indian Boarding Schools

    Assimilation was seen as a major "problem" as reservations were developed and treaties were written.  Thinking that children, rather than adults,  were more easily taught a new culture, one particular focus shifted to how to educate these children in the "new" ways.  This often resulted in children being sent to "Indian" boarding schools -- designed for Indian children only (even though hundreds of immigrant children were coming into the country and there was no seeming need for "assimilating" those children in special schools).

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Photos of Poverty - The Depression in Montana

    These depictions of Depression-era Montana help students visualize what life was like in the 1930s.  Most high school students today do not have a direct link - grandparents, for example - who can tell them stories of their lives and that makes it difficult to realize the scope of Depression life in Montana.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: The Company

    In many ways the story of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, through the first seven decades of the Twentieth Century, best illustrates trends in the Montana economy. The Anaconda Company dominated the state’s metals industry and influenced other business sectors. It developed a ‘copper press’ to manage journalism in the state, played a major role in the Montana legislature, and teamed with the Montana Power Company on many fronts. The Company’s ultimate demise tells a larger tale about the shift in Montana’s economic base. To many Montanans, the story of the Anaconda Company is the story of Twentieth Century Montana.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: The Archie Bray - Contemporary Art in Montana

    Montana has produced an astounding number of artists and authors: from the native rock-art inscriber to Charles Russell to A.B. Guthrie Jr. and James Welch. Montana’s artists attest to the influence that the state’s landscape plays in their inspiration and creations. ‘The land’ inspires artists of all disciplines: the Montana Indian decorating a hide tepee; the country-western singer in a Livingston bar; the landscape painter in Glacier National Park; the potter at Helena’s Bray Foundation; the Billings mystery writer. Montana provokes art.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Next Generations in Indian Country

    In some ways the Indian Boarding Schools did exactly what they set out to do - break the cycle of elders teaching the children traditional ways, lore, culture, and language. But intermingling children from differing nations resulted, in some cases, in awakening political identity for Native Americans in general. Instead of demanding rights for one Nation, now there was a push like the American Indian Movement that could rally hundreds of Nations into a concerted voice for rights and issues. Today’s Native Americans may have much more power unified than ever before!

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Tourism Years

    A booming national post-WWII economy created a large American middle class with the means and desire to travel. With Montana’s wide open spaces, clean air, lovely mountains, camping, hunting and skiing, tourism became increasingly important to the state’s economy. Federal government investments in highways and in defense (particularly Cold War era missile silos) also dramatically impacted the state’s economy….and brought more visitors.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Timber Years

    With about one-third of Montana forested, the timber industry has been a long-time primary sector industry.  This video looks at some of those times which lead directly to today's timber industry - a tug-of-war between loggers and environmentalists that has never quite answered the question of how much logging, and what type of logging, is in the best interest of the state - economically, esthetically, safety.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Oil and Refinery Years

    Montana’s resource-driven economy experienced its golden age following World War II. Jobs were plentiful in timber, mining, and agriculture. A booming national economy created a large American middle class with the means and desire to travel. Oil fueled that travel.  Exploration for gas and oil contributed to this particular boom.  A recent oil find in the Bakken area of North Dakota and Montana is fueling the latest boom time.  Experience would tell us that this, too, will bust in the future and the landscape will be left with idle oil wells and scarred land.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Mining Years

    This video describes how Montana’s resource-driven economy experienced its golden age following World War II. Jobs were plentiful in timber, mining, and agriculture. This particular clip focuses on the mining industry. While Montanans look back nostalgically to this economic “golden age,” the video cautions that Montanans cannot assume its natural resources alone can support the state’s economy in the future.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - The Agriculture Years

    Like the rest of the nation, Montana pulled out of the Great Depression in the early 1940s with the United States’ sudden immersion into World War II (1941–1945). Montana agriculture recovered when the long drought cycle ended and a series of wet years produced bumper crops and robust livestock herds again.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Montana Industry - One Boom After Another

    Montana has not had a single reliable economic industry throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. From the earliest trappers and miners to today’s tourists and oil workers there have been a series of boom and busts. The primary sector jobs in extractive industries – mining, oil, agriculture, and timber – have built the economy to record highs with corresponding downturns. Agriculture remains a constant although federal policies and the rise of corporate farming have changed the industry considerably. Tourism had its start after World War II with the advent of the interstate highway system. Timber has faced challenges from environmental groups.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Mining, Labor Unions and the Speculator Mine Disaster

    Gold lured the first prospectors to Montana, and silver attracted industrialists, but it was copper that carried Montana’s economy into the twentieth century. Some of the richest veins of copper in the world lay under the Butte hill, and as the world’s demand for copper soared, Butte’s mines expanded.

    Joining together in a labor union was one of the main ways workers could gain power. Unions like the Butte Miner’s Union negotiated with mine owners for better pay and safer working conditions. Improving safety was especially important in the mines, where accidents killed an average of one miner every other day in the 1890s.

     

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Landscape and Art in Montana

    Montana has produced an astounding number of artists and authors: from the native rock-art inscriber to Charles Russell to A.B. Guthrie Jr. and James Welch. Montana’s artists attest to the influence that the state’s landscape plays in their inspiration and creations. ‘The land’ inspires artists of all disciplines: the Montana Indian decorating a hide tepee; the country-western singer in a Livingston bar; the landscape painter in Glacier National Park; the potter at Helena’s Bray Foundation; the Billings mystery writer. Montana provokes art.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Letter from a Homesteading Teen

    This letter from a homesteading teen can be used in the classroom with students to contrast and compare teen lives of today to yesterday.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Montana Mosaic: Jeannette Rankin Search for Peace

    Jeannette Rankin is noted as the first American Congressperson and the only person to vote against entry into both World Wars.  Voting against entry into WWII sealed her fate as far as elected office went and she spent the post-war years - until her death at age 92 - continuing her campaign against US involvement in any "foreign" war.

    Grades: 6-9

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