Mormons believe Native Americans are descendants of the ancient House of Israel. It’s a Mormon mission to bring them back to the Kingdom of God. So they brought children, mostly Navajo, from their reservation homes, and placed them in Mormon foster families across the West. From 1954 to 1996, more than 20,000 kids went through the Indian Student Placement Program. Producer Kate Davidson spent a year interviewing people about their experiences. Her story, edited by Deb George, ran on the Worlds of Difference series from Homeland Productions.
“Take the road toward the top secret army base. Go past Muskrat Spring until you get near Salt Mountain.” A statue of a Hawaiian chief overlooks the Utah desert, with a plaque reading: “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono. Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono,” the motto of the kingdom of Hawaii: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” A tale of two states, lost tribes, and the Polynesians of Skull Valley who named their town, Iosepa, after Joseph Smith III.
The Western Soundscape Archive houses thousands of audio recordings: “570 different Western bird species, all of the region’s vocalizing frogs and toads, dozens of reptiles and more than 100 different types of mammals,” with dozens ambient field soundscapes of the West remote wildlands. Many of the recordings are are Creative Commons licensed for non-comm use.
Lang Elliot soaks up the sounds of “Sora Dawn” — “a pothole marsh at dawn with bittern, wrens, rails, and more (Prairie Spring).
Dr. Rex Cocroft, of the University of Missouri, attaches a phonograph needle to a blade of grass, plugged it into a tape recorder, to go “acoustic prospecting” for little-known suburban lawn sounds like “Leafhoppers,” rarely hard by humans.
Although it’s just a year old, the site already has more than 800 recordings. The goal is to catalog the nearly 1,200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that roam 11 Western states. It will also feature “ambient soundscapes” from wild places across the region.
This week’s HV cast for a hot Summer’s day— It is 120°. The birds and animals, and even insects hide. We hear the the words, thoughts and sounds of desert residents: writer Charles Bowden, the Tohono O’odham poet Ofelia Zepeda, and ambient composer Steve Roach, whose composition “Slow Heat” scores the piece. A story by Jeff Rice, “Heat- extended mix” (7:30 mp3):