The 22nd annual John White Series
The 22nd edition of our popular speaker series wrapped up Feb. 18.
This year we heard from a two-wheeled Montana traveler, a grizzly expert, an indigenous foods activist, and Meriwether Lewis’s mom. Read on for more.
To nominate topics and speakers on Northwest Montana history for 2025, contact us here.
Jan. 7: Motorcycle enthusiast Ron Brevik
"Riding the Big Sky"
At the age of 12, then Missoula resident Ron Brevik started riding motorcycles. “I was promptly pulled over by law enforcement for not having a driver’s license,” he remembers. “That didn’t stop me."
Decades on, Brevik married this love of motorcycles with love for his native state when he purchased a 100-year anniversary Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Springer in 2003 and devised “the ride of a lifetime” — to cover every mile of paved county, state, and federal road in Montana. Brevik documented the people, places, and history he discovered on his 70,000-mile journey.
Now a Kalispell resident and a retired general contractor and property manager, Brevik maintains that “Montana’s greatest treasures can be found on the back roads.” Learn about these treasures of the Treasure State at 2 p.m. Jan. 7, when Brevik kicks off the 22nd annual John White Series at the Northwest Montana History Museum.
Jan. 21: Grizzly researcher Kate Kendall
"Bear History 101"
Early in her career, research scientist Kate Kendall saw the need for accurately identifying bear populations. She got granular about it, looking to their fur, and orchestrated a five-year operation to collect some 34,000 bear hair samples.
After DNA testing, it was discovered that the previous best estimate for individual grizzlies was off by half. Kendall’s project found that the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem was home to 765 grizzlies—and that was 15 years ago.
Kendall, now retired in Kalispell after decades working for the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service, will discuss her favorite research topic in detailing how far grizzlies have come, their current situation, and what their future might hold as they face development pressures, delisting, and other challenges. She’ll also tell about some of the amusing things wildlife do when people aren’t around.
Feb. 4: Storyteller and historical interpreter
Mary Jane Bradbury
"A Mother's Journey: The Life of Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks"
A perennial favorite of Flathead Valley audiences, Mary Jane Bradbury
makes a return trip from Helena to take on the role of Lucy Marks, mother of Corps of
Discovery expeditioner Meriwether Lewis.
The story of Thomas Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery is engrained in the history of our nation. The story of Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks—the mother of Meriwether Lewis— remains largely untold, yet it offers critical insight into our understanding of her intrepid, exploring son.
A woman both of her times and ahead of her times, Marks was determined to fulfill the role expected of upper-class women at the turn of the 19th century while remaining independent and dedicated to her own pursuits. She managed a large plantation household, which included dozens of enslaved people, and followed her passion for healing and the natural world, all while remaining fiercely devoted to her son.
Feb. 18: Indigikitchen founder Mariah Gladstone
"Cooking Up Indigikitchen"
Babb resident Mariah Gladstone uses both academic and ancestral knowledge to revitalize indigenous food knowledge. She founded Indigikitchen online to provide tools, recipes, and guidance in how to re-indigenize diets while also strengthening cultural ties and supporting healthier ecosystems, bodies, and families.
Gladstone grew up in urban areas in Montana but spent summers with her family on the Blackfeet Reservation and 40 miles from the nearest grocery store. She observed diet-related health problems, with half of Native youth expected to develop Type II diabetes in their lifetimes.
She began working toward food sovereignty through hunting, harvesting, and growing, then decided to feed the need for indigenous foods with Indigikitchen, which teaches about cooking with pre-contact ingredients for simple nutrition that is affordable, sustainable, and accessible..