This fall, students have the opportunity to take a class based off the history of Yellowstone National Park. Even though the name of the class is “the Yellowstone country,” according to David Wilson, the instructor, it will include most of eastern Wyoming and eastern Montana.
Students will be able to learn about the history that has occurred at these locations. Wilson says the class will cover everything “from mountain men to Custer at the Little Big Horn to the Cattle Kingdom to the era of gold mining.”
While most students have been able to catch a glimpse of these historic events in past history classes, this offers a chance for students to learn even more about what happened. “The one thing is that the department of history — besides training professional historians — is interested in teaching people who will be working in other fields just to get in the habit of reading good, good books and being interested in something beyond simply what they want to do for a living,” said Wilson. “This is a course you take for yourself because you’re a human being, not just because it’ll get you a good job or a professional license.”
Wilson takes his own advice to heart. He is currently on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation doing what he calls “mucking around in the northern Cheyenne archives.”
While he is literally on the Cheyenne reservations learning history, students will be able to, in their own way, put themselves in the place of all these historic events.
“I want to take my students to a place they can use to escape from the humdrum world of going to school and grinding out homework. I want them to be with the Cheyenne Warrior Woodenleg as he hunts buffalo on the plains, with Crazy Horse when he’s riding up that hill toward the Seventh Cavalry, with John Colter as he can’t believe his eyes when he sees geysers and perhaps thinks he’s found the backdoor to Hell, with Nathaniel Pitt Langford as he first sees the most spectacular place in America,” Wilson said.
This class is taught Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:15. To be in this class you either have to have a Junior standing or just get consent from the instructor. Wilson mentioned that there is also a trip planned during fall break to Yellowstone that is not part of his class, but that students can still be a part of.