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2013 Mari Sandoz Symposium

"Environmental Issues and Mari Sandoz"

Environmental issues and Mari Sandoz dominated conversation at the 2013 Mari Sandoz Symposium. "The Nebraska Water Table" was set by Jesse Starita, Education and Outreach Associate with the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the Universitv of Nebraska – Lincoln. He used words, images and interviews with those who lived through Nebraska’s drought of 2012 to highlight the impact on Nebraska’s landscapes, livelihoods and water resources.

Western Wyoming Community College adjunct instructor Dr. Lisa Pollard talked about the gender of drought in Sandoz’s short story The Vine. Pollard said Sandoz engaged drought as a deeply gendered event that shaped and redefined relationships in the family and between the Great Plains and the East. She articulated drought and scarcity in the social construction of the heterosexual nuclear family and understood the most intimate manifestations of drought (hunger, longing) frequently belonged to the family on the Great Plains.

Lincoln historian and independent scholar Dr. Susan Miller discussed "Indigenous Adaptations to Drought on the Plains." She said indigenous communities were well adapted to the semi-arid environment of the Great Plains. Her talk examined ways in which those communities coped with dry conditions and responses to extreme drought when those ways failed.

Chadron State College Associate Professor Dr. Teresa Frink led a panel discussion on “The Effects of Drought on Ranching and Wildlife Management." She was joined by representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, a range ecologist and an animal scientist.