Ep. 62Experiences of Wildfire in Montana, with Young Indigenous Storytellers and the Montana Media Lab

Today’s episode is a special one. We collaborated with the Montana Media Lab—a program of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism—to help support their winter “Youth Voices” workshop, which empowers young rural and Indigenous storytellers to learn more about audio storytelling while sharing stories from their communities. This episode features five stories from high school students in Browning and Florence, Montana, all of which are centered around wildfire’s presence in their communities.

Story one (timestamp: 6:32) centers on the experiences of volunteer wildland firefighters on the Blackfeet (Niitsitapi) Reservation, as well as on the history of Indigenous burning on Blackfeet Nation ancestral lands.

Story two (12:29) is a profile of a student’s grandfather, who spoke about his experiences as a Chief Mountain hotshot back in the 70s and 80s.

Episode three (16:34) focuses on the experiences of a few modern day members of the Chief Mountain Hotshots.

Story four (19:49) highlights how wildfires impact wildlife, and provided an opportunity for students to speak with employees at their reservation’s fish and wildlife office.

Finally, story five (24:11) shows the unexpected impacts of having an incident command post pop up at your high school during a major wildfire in your area.

We owe a huge thank you to the students and teachers who worked hard to make this episode possible, as well as to Mary Auld of the Montana Media Lab, who pitched and coordinated this initiative. 

This episode was made possible with support from the American Wildfire Experience and Mystery Ranch Backpacks

For updates on the American Wildfire Experience’s 2024 Digital Storytelling Micro Grants Program, follow them on Instagram at @wildfire.experience and @thesmokeygeneration. 

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