As an interdisiplinary center in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies seeks to provide support for education, research, and hands-on experiences. Faculty, students, and community members are able to come together to further the scholarship and understanding of the Mountain West as a regional entity. Programs that study the past, present, and future of the land and its people can provide an awareness of the forces that have shaped the area and an avenue for constructive dialogue in exploring the challenges that face the region.
Current Collaborative Projects
Intermountain Inter-Tribal School Mural Project
The Mountain West Center is involved in preserving the murals that were painted during the 1950s and 60s by former students of well-known Apache artist Allan Houser at the Intermountain Inter-Tribal School (IIS). These murals are significant both for their art work and for what they reveal about the history of the Indian Boarding School movement in the Mountain West region.
While the IIS was one of the largest and longest-running schools in the Tribal Boarding School system, the Brigham City school has been underrepresented in scholarship until recent years. This newfound interest has uncovered the urgency to protect and preserve these murals before history and art are destroyed by the development occurring on the site of the former IIS.
A few murals have been removed and restored, while others are being stored onsite in less than ideal conditions. This project seeks to partner with Brigham City Museum staff, USU-Brigham City administration, Utah State University Logan Campus Library administration, The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, and other interested parties to share resources and expertise to properly store or curate the remaining works so they can be shared and appreciated.
The MWC has also funded the work of CJ Guadarrama, a graduate student in the American Studies program who is researching the history of the murals that were part of the former Intermountain Inter-Tribal Boarding School in Brigham City, Utah.
Better Understanding Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Issues in Immigrant and Refugee Communities
Faculty members from the Social Work Department and the Communication Studies Department are collaborting on a workshop directed towards social workers, university professors, graduate students, domestic violence shelter personnel, and community members. The purpose is to educate how to best serve refugees and immigrants who experience domestic violence and to help educate members of the community about domestic violence and human trafficking in the refugee and immigrant populations.
Many refugee services and resources typically make their way to large epicenters like Seattle, Portland (Maine), Nashville, Houston, and Atlanta, etc. Yet the Mountain West is not immune to the issues faced by immigrants and refugees. The current research suggests that cultural factors such as language barriers, migration history, trauma, gender roles, and help-seeking behaviors are markedly different for refugees when compared to the United States population in general.
This makes education and research in the area of domestic violence crucial to those who interact with and provide resources to the refugee and imigrant population throughout the Mountain West, an area of geographic isolation.
Future Programs to Support the Study of the Mountain West Region
The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies at Utah State University seeks to further the work of the university.
Collaborative projects supported by the Mountain West Center may cover an array of subjects including, the natural environment, the human story, the social environment, as well as the arts and literature.
We encourage innovative research, teaching, and public programming as ways to gain greater understanding and improve the lives and resources of this diverse region.
If you wish to support or become involved with future study of the Mountain West region and its people, do not hesitate to contact us.