Theodore Van Alst
I am endlessly fascinated by the West and its ghost towns, both abandoned and inhabited. The sense of loss here is different than what you find in the East, where the soulcrush of too much humanity grinds the spirit into the pavement for all to ignore. In the West, it’s the wind and the space that can draw life away, over the next ridge or beyond the far pass, and the traces of those who left to chase it further are readable only for a moment. These images come from a recent visit to Garnet, Montana, “the best preserved ghost town in the state.”
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana. He is a former Assistant Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University, and has been an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Program in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. His most recent work includes "Lapin Noir: To Del Rio It Went" in A Critical Companion to the Fiction of Stephen Graham Jones, ed. Billy J. Stratton from the University of New Mexico Press as well as the chapters "Navajo Joe," and "The Savage Innocents," in Seeing Red—Hollywood's Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film(2013), available from Michigan State University Press. His current book-length project is Spaghetti and Sauerkraut with a Side of Frybread, and his edited volume The Faster, Redder, Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones will be released in April 2015 by the University of New Mexico Press. He has worked as a consultant on multiple projects for the Disney Channel as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has recently appeared in multiple segments of the History Channel series Mankind the Story of All of Us. He has been interviewed by The Washington Post, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Native America Calling, Smithsonian Magazine, and Al-Jazeera America Television on a variety of subjects, from Native representation and Tonto to Spaghetti Westerns, headdresses, and Twilight.