Landscape and place-identity in a Great Plains Reservation community : a historical geography of Poplar, Montana

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This study constructs a historical-geographical narrative of Poplar, Montana and explores residents' place-identity in the context of economic restructuring. Located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana, Poplar offers an ideal setting to better understand how economic restructuring affects the lives of residents in northern Plains reservation communities. Loss of businesses, consolidation of services, and general economic restructuring continue to challenge communities on the Great Plains. For Great Plains Indian reservations, however, these problems are compounded by additional variables such as persistently high poverty rates, a dynamic relationship with the federal government, and increasing populations. Archival research, landscape analysis, and interview data are all used to better understand the influence of economic restructuring in shaping Poplar. This study demonstrates the value of historical and cultural geographic approaches in understanding the past evolution as well as the contemporary challenges of reservation communities in the American West.




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