As part of our commitment to elevating oral tradition and not only the written word, Elk River Arts & Lectures is overjoyed to welcome oral historian Francine Spang-Willis.
Francine D. Spang-Willis is an oral historian and educator based in Bozeman, Montana. She is of Cheyenne, Pawnee, and settler descent. Spang-Willis is an Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) graduate from Columbia University. Her thesis, Becoming Wild Again in America: The Restoration and Resurgence of the Pablo-Allard Bison Herd, as a website and three-part podcast, was cited as an OHMA Thesis of Exceptional Distinction in 2021. She also holds a Master of Arts in Native American Studies from Montana State University.
As the owner of Appearing Flying Woman Consulting, LLC, she collaborates with diverse organizations, communities, and individuals on oral history and community-centered projects. She also has had diverse roles in higher education, the US federal government, and the nonprofit sector.
Spang-Willis was the American Indian Tribal Histories Project (AITHP) Director at the Western Heritage Center in Billings, Montana, from 2003 to 2009. She and the AITHP team collaborated with Northern Cheyenne, Crow, and Chippewa Cree narrators to share Indigenous history and culture through storytelling as an oral history tradition and oral history method.
Spang-Willis serves on the Oral History Association’s Nominating Committee and the Indigenous Caucus. She is also the co-chair of the Diversity Committee. She is part of the Leadership Advisory Council for The Indigenous Chicago Project at the Newberry Library. She also serves on the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, WildEarth Guardians, and Humanities Montana Board of Directors.
Spang-Willis’s visit is made possible by the generous support of the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation as well as individual donors. During her visit, Spang-Willis will discuss oral history with students at Park High. The public lecture is free and open to the public.