I had special privilege of being the moderator for the video session during the Fourth International Women of the Mountains conference on October 8, 2015. The Conference was hosted by Utah Valley University (UVU) students and this gave me the wonderful chance to be involved in the activities of the conference as a member of the student organizing committee.
Dr. Roger Blomquist and I during the video session
It was also a great opportunity for me to learn about our less known history in Utah, which is not taught in our classes, but should be incorporated and taught as part of our great heritage. I assisted in video presentation to Dr. Blomquist, a former professor at UVU, where he taught about the American West. Dr. Blomquist has also helped students make documentary films in his program at UVU. Seeing his presentation on the “America’s First All Women Town Council” was really educational.
Not everyone knows of this town council because it happened in the small town of Kanab, Utah in 1911. The documentary describes the election of the women, which started off as a practical joke, but soon turned into women actually taking office because the men did not have the time to work the fields and run the town. The women on the town council served their two year term and made many improvements to their town.
Dr. Blomquist shows how this event took place independent of the suffrage movement because Kanab was isolated from other major communities such as Salt Lake City. This event was rather an act of equality that took place out of a need for the men to work the fields.
Dr. Blomquist’s documentary also shared the story of the current mayor and her reenactment group, who for two years went on tour around Utah. Their goal was to bring awareness to the creation of the first American all women town council. It has been a great pleasure to help Dr. Blomquist at this conference, as well as learn about these incredible women from Kanab Utah. The presentation of the documentary helped to share this story that many might never have heard otherwise.
This great documentary has helped to bring awareness to this incredible event, and was able to share it with all of us, who were in the audience, at the Women of the Mountains conference. The documentary has helped to show this marvelous story to an audience from many different regions of the world. Without this documentary and research of Dr. Blomquist we may have continued to overlook this great event in history of both local mountain community and this nation.
This conference was very important, not only to UVU, but to everyone who came to see it. Students that helped host this high level international conference were able to gain many professional skills, expand their network of peers and professionals, and inform the state of Utah, the Rocky Mountain region, and abroad.
Josh Eaton, UVU student