Main content start

Rural West 2016

People and Place in the Rural American West
Thu March 17th 2016, 5:00pm - Sat March 19th 2016, 1:30pm
Missoula, Montana
ranch lands and prairie near cuter battlefield

Clockwise from top left: hills behind University of Montana campus; Bill Lane Center researcher Nicola Ulibarri; Bill Lane Center co-founder David M. Kennedy; U Montana psychologist Gyda Swaney; audience at keynote lunch; Kenneth Smoker of the Fort Peck Tribes and Indian Health Service; Barbara Creel, University of New Mexico; Hope Eccles, Bill Lane Center advisory council member; keynote speaker Lisa Pruitt, University of California, Davis; panel on housing and homelessness; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Center: Panel on Rural West Conference Montana Survey with Bruce E. Cain, Bill Lane Center for the American West; David Brady, Stanford University; Christopher Muste, University of Montana; and Sally Mauk, Montana Public Radio.


The fourth annual Eccles Rural West Conference is in the books, after a day and a half of wide-ranging conversation and debate about the past, present, and future of the rural American West. 

2016's conference theme will be “People and Place in the Rural American West.” The interconnected relationship between people and place is a defining characteristic of the rural American West. The way people experience the American West is closely connected to their sense of the West as a physical place: large coastal cities, small mountain towns, agricultural valleys, and vast stretches of uninhabited terrain. And this relationship continues to shape our understanding of the region’s past, present, and future. Through panels addressing rural public opinion, housing and homelessness, health care and access, tribal law and policy, and public lands and natural resources, the conference seeks to revisit this basic question: how has the relationship between people and place continued to define the rural American West and its communities?

Read the Montana Issues Survey published by the Lane Center in preparation for the 2016 Rural West Conference.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mar 17
5:00 - 7:00 pm

Informal Reception and Keynote

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mar 18
8:30 - 9:00 am

Breakfast and Welcome

Bruce E. Cain
Eccles Family Faculty Director, The Bill Lane Center for the American West

Mar 18
9:15 - 10:45 am

Panel 1: Issues in the Rural West


Mar 18
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Panel 2: A Western Sense of Place: Definitions, Relationships, and Expressions

Mar 18
2:00 - 3:30 pm

Panel 3: Home(less) on the Range: Rural Housing and Homelessness

Mar 18
3:45 - 5:15 pm

Panel 4: Perspectives on Tribal Law and Policy in the Rural West

Mar 18
6:30 - 8:00 pm

Dinner and Keynote

Steve Bullock
Governor of Montana

David Brady
Stanford University

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mar 19
9:00 - 10:30 am

Panel 5: Health Care and Access in the Rural West

Mar 19
10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Panel 6: "This Land is My Land": Use and Allocation of Public Lands and Natural Resources

Mar 19
12:15 - 1:30 pm

Lunch and Closing Remarks