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

  • “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

  • Benjamin B. Kiser, Graduate Student. American West Center - Beaver Dam Wash Land Use History. 08/16/2017 - 06/30/2018.
  • Michael L. Shamo, Graduate Student. American West Center - Red Cliffs 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 - present.
  • Amanda Scheuerman, Graduate Student. American West Center - Stewart Indian School Project. 08/2016 - present.
  • 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 - present. Awards/Scholarships/Stipends: Assistant Director, Oral History Program Manager.
  • Christopher Dunsmore, Other. American West Center. 07/01/2012 - present.
  • 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 - present. 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

  • A Public Environmental History of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Under contract with the University of Oklahoma Press, forthcoming in 2019. 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.
  • “Reimagining ‘Wild Life’ on the Northern Plains: Lessons from the Little Bighorn,” in Leslie Miller and Louise Excell, eds., Reimaging Western Landscapes. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, forthcoming. Accepted, 09/04/2015.
  • "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.