When my life came full-circle and I brought my Oregon-born children to live in my hometown.
Hello, Sheridan. My name is Kevin Knapp. I was born at Sheridan Memorial Hospital in the winter of 1979. After 12 years in Oregon (to attend college, meet my wife, Hesid, and start a family), I moved back to Wyoming in 2010 to raise my children here. In the years since, I’ve worked as a youth counselor, child advocate, tween librarian, museum director, and archaeologist, and my wife and I have started a small videography business.
We have a tiny house farm consisting of two children, a rabbit, a mouse, six chickens, three cats, and a dog. Some of my interests include: youth education, acting, tech and gadgets, home-brewing, gardening, horses, or pretty much anything outside. I was hired by the Dally to cover Sheridan news full-time in 2017. Most recently, I’ve been asked to contribute to 82801 on a monthly basis.
Now that the small talk is out of the way, I’d like to tell you what really gets me excited.
I’ve always wanted to make movies. My grandfather was a radio operator on a bomber in World War II and hoarded electronics of all kinds. I inherited the obsession, particularly for cameras. In the ’80’s I was running around with a giant VCR strapped over my shoulder and now I record in HD using an unmanned aerial vehicle. Through all those changes, I maintained the original childish love for movies (I even made a few, too. No, you can’t see them). What I discovered, however, was that what I really loved were stories. So, let me tell a story that illustrates why I’m so excited to be tasked with writing about Sheridan, Wyoming, all day, everyday.
Though I have negligible indigenous ancestry, Native American studies has played an important part in my life, both professionally and personally. At Southern Oregon University, I found a one-of-a-kind and eye-opening Native American Studies department, entirely run by Native American professors. Their openness and complete trust in education as a bridge between worlds has made the program a national leader in the ongoing transformation of Indian education through Native knowledge.
I left SOU with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a certificate in Native American Studies but, on a personal level, I emerged with an entirely new community of family and friends and a forever changed perspective on life. David West, Director of the program, taught students something called Natural Traditional Law and that everything in life exists on a wheel, or a circle. Don’t get me started. Ask me about it sometime.
Suffice it to say that everything has a place and deserves respect. All points on a circle are equally distant from the center. When my life came full-circle and I brought my Oregon-born children to live in my hometown, my educational experiences acted as a lens through which I saw my childhood landscape augmented with layers of culture and history I had never even been aware of before.
This isn’t about me, though. It’s about all of us and the stories that we tell. Each of us sees this community from a slightly different point on the circle. Through my stories, you’ll grow familiar with the peculiarities of my particular perspective. But I also hope to capture some of yours.