GREGORY E SMOAK portrait
  • Director American West Center
  • Associate Professor, History

Research Statement

My research focuses on the Native and environmental history of the American West. As a publicly engaged historian I have worked on projects for the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service as well as numerous Native peoples including the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Big Sandy Rancheria of Western Mono Indians, and the Navajo Nation.

Research Keywords

  • •History of public lands policy
  • Water Rights
  • Native American law
  • Great Basin
  • Ethnohistory
  • Environmental policy, American Indian policy
  • American West

Presentations

  • “The Confluence of Water, History, and the Public in Utah,” Keynote Address, Utah State History Conference, Provo, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/26/2022.
  • “Sharing Difficult Water Stories: The Think Water Utah Project and the Public,” Roundtable Panelist, Utah State History Conference, Provo, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 10/26/2022.
  • “’White,’ ‘Indian,’ and ‘Mixed’: Negotiated Identities in the Settler Colonial West,” Session Chair and Comment, Western History Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas. Other, Presented, 10/14/2022.
  • “History of Great Salt Lake: A Great Salt Lake Collaborative Conversation,” Great Salt Lake Journalism Collaborative, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 09/28/2022.
  • “The Bear River, Great Salt Lake, and Utah’s Imperiled Water Future,” Wellsville Founder’s Day Lecture, Wellsville, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 08/30/2022.
  • “Recovering Native Voices: A Collaboration Between the National Park Service and the Navajo Nation,” 6th World Conference of the International Federal for Public History, Berlin, Germany. Conference Paper, Presented, 08/17/2022.
  • “H2O Today . . . And Tomorrow,” Canyon Country Discovery Center, Monticello, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/28/2022.
  • “Every History Has a Nature: Thoughts on Doing Public Environmental History,” NCPH Presidential Address, National Council on Public History Annual Meeting (Online). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/02/2022.
  • “History at the Center(s) of the West: Thoughts on Regional Public History Practice,” Annaley Naegle Redd Lecture, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/25/2022.
  • “The Bear River and Utah’s Water Ways,” Hyrum City Museum and Utah Humanities, Hyrum, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/08/2021.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlQMJLS5S3w
  • “The Uinta Basin and Utah’s Water Ways,” Online Lecture and Discussion, Uintah County Heritage Museum, Vernal, Utah, and Utah Humanities. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/23/2021.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bl6Kj6ip8Y&t=4s
  • “The Rise and Fall of John Wesley Powell’s Hydraulic West,” Online Lecture and Discussion, John Wesley Powell River History Museum, Green River, Utah, and Utah Humanities. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/18/2021.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkWjxOCrEK8
  • “Family Stories and the Preservation of Tribal History: A Conversation with Darren Parry,” Presidential Plenary Session Moderator, National Council on Public History Annual Meeting (Online). Other, Presented, 03/26/2021.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJWPtwWn-f8
  • “Thinking Downstream: Great Salt Lake and Utah’s Past and Future Water Ways,” Online Lecture and Discussion, Swaner Preserve and Eco-center, Park City, Utah, and Utah Humanities. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/11/2021.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REmYl_-0-68
  • “Land Back: A Critical Conversation About Reconciliation,” Roundtable Panelist, Online Symposium, University of Utah Office of Student Development and Inclusion, Online. Other, Presented, 11/16/2020.
  • “Stories of War and Diplomacy: Oral History and New Understandings of the Navajo-Mormon Conflict of the 1860s,” Western History Association Annual Meeting, Online. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/17/2020.
  • “Kanab and Utah’s Historical and Cultural Water Ways,” Online Lecture and Discussion, Kanab Heritage Museum and Utah Humanities, Online. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/17/2020.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gyUZhoZd1A
  • “Under Native American Skies: Native People and the West’s Public Lands,” Session Chair and Commentator, Western History Association Annual Meeting, Online. Other, Presented, 10/16/2020.
  • “Stories of Change Since We Last Met in Vegas: Retrospectives on the WHA,” Session Organizer and Commentator, Western History Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, 17 October 2019. Other, Presented, 10/17/2019.
  • “A Critical Review of Being and Becoming Ute: The Story of an American Indian People,” Session Chair, Utah State History Conference, West Valley City, 27 September 2019. Other, Presented, 09/27/2019.
  • “Great Salt Lake in Utah’s History,” Utah History Lecture Series, Park City Library, Park City, Utah, 31 May 2019. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/31/2019.
  • “Native Peoples and the Building of the Wasatch Front,” Design Futures Student Leadership Forum 2019, Salt Lake City, 20 May 2019. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/20/2019.
  • “Environmental Legacies of the Transcontinental Railroad in Three Images,” Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, 6 March 2019. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/06/2019.
  • “Place Names and Community Values: The View from Utah,” Western History Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/20/2018.
  • “New Approaches to Utah Studies: A Lightning Round,” Session Organizer and Commentator, Utah State History Conference, West Valley City. Other, Presented, 10/11/2018.
  • “Powering Public History Programs: Funding College and University Public History Programs,” National Council on Public History Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada. Conference Paper, Presented, 04/21/2018.
  • “Native Peoples and the Utah Territory -1847-1854,” Utah History Lecture Series, Park City Library, Park City, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/23/2018.
  • “Remembering the Life and Work of Louise Pubols,” Roundtable Organizer and Participant, Western History Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, 1 November 2017. Presentation, Presented, 11/01/2017.
  • “Peril, Conflict, and Storytelling in Community History,” Plenary Session Speaker, Utah State History Conference, West Valley City, 11 October 2017. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/11/2017.
  • “’Peace With the Indians, September 1852:’ Native Peoples and the Art of the Utah State Capitol,” Invited Lecture to Capitol Docents, 30 May 2017. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/30/2017.
  • “The Economics and Ethics of Unpaid Internships at the Center of Public History Education,” Working Group Organizer and Facilitator, National Council on Public History annual meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, 22 April 2017. Presentation, Presented, 04/22/2017.
  • “More than a Killing Field: Native Subsistence and Land Use Practices in the Little Bighorn Valley,” Annual Conference of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Las Vegas, Nevada. Conference Paper, Presented, 11/05/2015.
  • “’Our Inland Sea’: Great Salt Lake and Utah’s Sense of Place,” Western History Association Conference, Portland, Oregon. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/24/2015.
  • “Rediscovering Utah’s Native Voices through the Utah American Indian Digital Archive,” Utah State History Conference, West Valley City. Presentation, Presented, 10/02/2015.
  • “Pulling Back the Curtain:’ How Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Inhabits the Present,” National Council on Public History annual meeting, Nashville, Tennessee. Conference Paper, Presented, 04/18/2015.
  • “Student Success at the University of Utah,” Panel Moderator, American Indian Resource Center Utah Tribal Leaders Education Summit, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Other, Presented, 04/10/2015.
  • "Quenching the Thirst: Water, Development, and Public History in the Urban West," Roundtable Panel, Organizer and Panelist, Western History Association, Newport Beach, California. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/16/2014.
  • Moderator of "Journeys Toward Leadership," at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, West Valley City, Utah. Part of the statewide tour of the Smithsonian Institution exhibit "Journey Stories" in conjunction with the Utah Humanities Council. Other, Presented, 09/29/2014.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1469649076637262/
  • "Living on the Shores of an Inland Sea: Oral History and Great Salt Lake," Utah State History Conference, Salt Lake City Utah. Conference Paper, Presented, 09/26/2014.
  • "The Nature of Custer's Last Stand: How Environment Shaped the Course of the Battle of the Little Bighorn." Utah Westerners. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 07/15/2014.
  • "Saline Stories: An Oral History of Great Salt Lake." Public event at the Salt Lake City Public Library in partnership with the Utah Humanities Council and Utah Division of State History, featuring participants in the oral history project. Presentation, Presented, 05/22/2014.
  • "Saline Stories: An Oral History of Great Salt Lake," Friends of Great Salt Lake Issues Forum, Salt Lake City, Utah. Conference Paper, Presented, 05/07/2014.
  • “Do We Take a Stand?: Public Historians and the Debates that Define Today’s West – Historians and Wildland Fire in the American West,” Roundtable Organizer and Participant, Western History Association Conference, Tucson, Arizona. Presentation, Presented, 11/12/2013.
  • “Custer’s Last Stand . . . of Big Sagebrush: Environmental History and the Visitor Experience at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument,” Western History Association Conference, Tucson, Arizona. Conference Paper, Presented, 11/11/2013.
  • "Roads to the Greasy Grass: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and Environmental History," University of Utah, Department of History Conference, . Conference Paper, Presented, 04/18/2013.
  • “Remembering the Bear River Massacre,” Lecture commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Massacre, American Indian Resource Center, University of Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/29/2013.
  • “Native Americans and the Rural West,” Session Moderator and Commentator, “The Rural West: Toward a Regional Approach to Common Issues,” Sponsored by the Rural West Initiative of Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West, Ogden, Utah. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/14/2012.
  • "Making Meaning Out of Place in the Twentieth Century," Session Chair and Comment, Annual Meeting of the Western History Association, Denver, Colorado. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/06/2012.
  • "The Past, Present, and Future of Public History in the Western History Association," organizer, moderator and participant in a roundtable panel, Annual meeting of the Western History Association, Oakland, California. Conference Paper, Presented, 10/14/2011.
  • "Public History, Native Americans, and Contested Narratives," Session Chair and Comment, Annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History, Pensacola, Florida. Conference Paper, Presented, 04/08/2011.

Research Groups

  • Keely Mruk, Graduate Student. American West Center. 07/01/2021 - 05/15/2022. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: School of Medicine Fellowship.
  • John Flynn, Graduate Student. American West Center / Digital Matters. 08/17/2020 - 05/14/2021. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: AMC/DM Fellow.
  • Megan Weiss, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/17/2020 - present. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: Utah Humanities - Think Water Utah Fellow.
  • Scott Morris, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/16/2019 - present. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: Assistant Director.
  • Jacob Northcutt, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/16/2019 - 05/15/2020. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: AWC/Environmental Humanities Fellow.
  • Jeffrey Turner, Graduate Student. American West Center / Digital Matters. 08/16/2019 - 08/15/2020. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: AWC/DM Fellow.
  • Ami Chopine, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/16/2019 - 05/15/2021.
  • Matthew Green, Graduate Student. American West Center. 05/16/2019 - 08/15/2020.
  • Erin Adam, Graduate Student. American West Center - Department of History Intern. 08/16/2017 - 05/15/2018.
  • Michael L. Shamo, Graduate Student. American West Center - Red Cliffs Land Use History. 08/16/2017 - 05/15/2020.
  • Benjamin B. Kiser, Graduate Student. American West Center - Beaver Dam Wash Land Use History. 08/16/2017 - 06/30/2018.
  • Lisa Barr, Graduate Student. American West Center - Pipe Spring National Monument Historic Inscription Project. 08/2016 - 12/31/2018.
  • Amanda Scheuerman, Graduate Student. American West Center - Stewart Indian School Project. 08/2016 - 05/31/2019.
  • Sarah Brey, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/2015 - 05/2016.
  • Kailey Kornhauser, Graduate Student. American West Center. 08/2015 - 05/2016.
  • Chelsey Zamir, Other. American West Center - Pipe Spring National Monument Project - Utah Architects Project. 01/2015 - 06/2017.
  • Vicky Newman, Senior Associate. American West Center - Oral History Program. 07/01/2014 - 06/30/2015.
  • Michael Shamo, Graduate Student. American West Center. 01/2014 - 08/2016.
  • Suzanne Catherine, Graduate Student. American West Center. 06/10/2013 - 06/30/2015.
  • Leighton M. Quarles, Graduate Student. American West Center. 05/15/2013 - 12/31/2020. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: Zion National Park Administrative History.
  • Christopher Dunsmore, Other. American West Center. 07/01/2012 - 12/31/2019.
  • Becky Lloyd, Other. American West Center - Oral History Program. 07/01/2012 - 12/2016.
  • Anne Palmer, Senior Associate. American West Center - Oral History Program. 07/01/2012 - 05/15/2014.
  • Cassandra L. Clark, Graduate Student. American West Center. 07/2012 - 08/15/2019. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: Program Coordinator.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Utah Architects Project. PI: Gregory E. Smoak. Utah Center for Architecture and Marriott Library Special Collections, 12/2014 - 08/2017. Total project budget to date: $25,000.00
  • Great Salt Lake Oral History Project. PI: Gregory E. Smoak. Utah Humanities Council/Utah Division of State History, 08/15/2013 - 08/14/2014. Total project budget to date: $2,000.00
  • UAIDA Phase IV. PI: Matthew Basso. Co-PI(s): Gregory E. Smoak. http://www.utahindians.org/archives. Utah Department of Community and Culture, 07/01/2012 - 12/31/2012. Total project budget to date: $88,000.00
  • An Environmental History of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. PI: Gregory E. Smoak. National Park Service / Rocky Mountain CESU, 01/15/2010 - 12/2015. Total project budget to date: $50,000.00
  • Historical Land Use and Resource Study. PI: Eric Hinderaker. Co-PI(s): Gregory E. Smoak. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation, Idaho., 08/2009 - 08/2011. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • FISHLAKE NF GRAZING HISTORY. PI: SMOAK,GREGORY E. USDA FOREST SERVICE, 08/15/2014 - 05/15/2015. Total project budget to date: $22,656.00
  • MANTI-LASAL GRAZING HISTORY. PI: SMOAK,GREGORY E. USDA FOREST SERVICE, 09/23/2013 - 08/08/2014. Total project budget to date: $20,692.00
  • UAIDA TASK 1. PI: SMOAK,GREGORY E. UT DEPARTMENT OF HERITAGE AND, 07/01/2013 - 01/31/2014. Total project budget to date: $4,246.00
  • CHINA MTN WIND PROJECT. PI: SMOAK,GREGORY E. URS CORP, 05/02/2011 - 04/30/2013. Total project budget to date: $35,800.00

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Canada
  • United States of America

Publications

  • Gregory E. Smoak (2022). "Every History Has a Nature: Thoughts on Doing Public Environmental History.". The Public Historian. Vol. 44, 9-23. Published, 08/2022.
  • Gregory E. Smoak, Richard White, Stephen Aron, Virginia Scharff, Leisl Carr Childers, Michael Childers, Laurie Arnold, Brittani Orona, Yvette Tuell, E. Richard Hart, Leighton M. Quarles, Vanessa Fonseca-Chavez, Trisha Venisa Martinez, Mette Flynt & Jedediah Rogers (2021). Western Lands, Western Voices: Essays on Public History in the American West. University of Utah Press. Published, 08/01/2021.
    https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/western-lands-weste...
  • Gregory E. Smoak & Gregory E. Smoak (2021). “Putting History to Work in the American West.". (pp. 1-12). University of Utah Press. Published, 08/01/2021.
    https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/western-lands-weste...
  • Gregory E. Smoak (2020). Utah Water Ways. (pp. 40). Utah Humanities. Published, 09/2020.
  • Gregory E. Smoak (2020). “In Memoriam: Floyd A. O’Neil.” . Utah Historical Quarterly. Published, 01/2020.
  • Gregory E. Smoak (2019). Review of "Ute Land Religion in the American West, 1879-2009," by Brandi Denison. Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education. Accepted, 05/30/2019.
  • Dibé Ch’é’nil –”Where the Sheep Were Let Out”: An Oral Historical and Ethnohistorical Study of the Pipe Spring Raid and Navajo-Mormon Relations in the 1860s and 1870s,” for the National Park Service, CP-CESU Cooperative Agreement Number P14AC00921, 291 pp., May 2019. Published, 05/10/2019.
  • Gregory E. Smoak & Leslie Miller and Louise Excell (2018). "Reimagining 'Wild Life' on the Northern Plains: Lessons from the Little Bighorn.". (pp. 79-103). Vol. Reimagining a Place for the Wi, University of Utah Press. Published, 12/01/2018.
    https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/reimagining-a-place...
  • Gregory E. Smoak (2017). A Public Environmental History of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. University of Oklahoma Press. Accepted, 09/08/2017.
  • Review of Leisl Carr Childers, The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin in Western Historical Quarterly 47 (WInter 2016): 505-06. Published, 11/2016.
  • “The Great Basin,” in Frederick Hoxie, ed., Oxford Handbook of American Indian History. This chapter will explore the history of the Native peoples of the Great Basin. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press in March 2016. Published, 03/2016.
  • "The American West Center, University of Utah," in Journal of the West 52 (Fall 2013): 91-94. Appeared in special issue devoted to academic centers studying the American West. Published, 09/2014.
  • Utah's Journey Stories (Salt Lake City: Utah Humanities Council, 2014). Essay to accompany the Smithsonian Institution's travelling exhibit "Journey Stories.". Published, 05/2014.
    http://www.utahhumanities.org/assets/journeys_essa...
  • "Identity, Soveriegnty, and Idaho's Native Peoples: The Shoshone-Bannock and Coeur d'Alene Experiences," The Blue Review (February 2014). Published, 02/2014.
    http://thebluereview.org/identity-sovereignty-idah...
  • "Public Historians and the WHA: An Introduction," Western History Association Newsletter (Fall 2012): 2-3. I also helped tto organize this special edition of the newsletter, "Public History and the West.". Published, 12/2012.
  • "The Native West Before 1700," in Gordon Morris Bakken, ed., The World of the American West (New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 50-81. Published, 01/2011.
  • “Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian,” a Report by the Working Group on Evaluating Public History Scholarship (Joint Committee of the American Historical Association, National Council on Public History, and the Organization of American Historians), 2010. Published, 11/2010.
    http://ncph.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/Engaged-His...
  • Review essay of The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890, by Rani Henrik-Andersson, and At Standing Rock and Wounded Knee: The Journals and Papers of Father Francis M. Craft, edited by Thomas W. Foley. In Ethnohistory 57 (Spring 2010): 325-27. Published, 04/2010.
  • “Beyond the Academy: Making the New Western History Matter in Local Communities.” The Public Historian 31 (November 2009): 85-89. Published, 11/2009.
  • “The Newe (the People) and the Utah Superintendency,” In: Dale L. Morgan, Shoshonean Peoples and the Overland Trail: Frontiers of the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1849-1869, Richard L. Saunders, ed., Logan: Utah State University Press, 2007, pp. 33-55. Published, 05/2007.
  • “Fort Hall and the Ghost Dance Movements.” Idaho Yesterdays 47 (Fall/Winter 2006): 6-27, 72-73. Published, 11/2006.
    http://www.boisestate.edu/history/id_yesterdays/3i...
  • Ghost Dances and Identity: Prophetic Religion and American Indian Ethnogenesis in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press). Published, 2006.
    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520256279
  • “Broken Promise: The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Unresolved Claim to the Great Camas Prairie,” Idaho Issues Online (Fall 2004). Published, 10/2004.
    http://www.boisestate.edu/history/idaho/issuesonli...
  • “The Mormons and the Ghost Dance of 1890,” South Dakota History 16 (Fall 1986): 269-294. Published, 01/1986.