This short series is a snapshot of a month’s worth of work conducting folklife fieldwork in the far southeastern corner of the state. Unless otherwise noted, photos were taken with Jack Daly’s camera and text was taken from Jack Daly’s field notes.

In August 2020, the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Bear River Heritage Area collaborated to bring Utah State University folklore student Jack Daly to five counties in southeastern Idaho. Daly conducted a survey of local traditions, folklife, and heritage businesses and sites. The counties covered in the folklife survey were Franklin, Bear Lake, Caribou, Oneida, and parts of Bannock.

The purpose of the project was threefold: to document the diverse cultural traditions throughout the five-county area; to increase Idaho representation in the Bear River Heritage Area project; and to cultivate participation in public programming offered through the Folk and Traditional Arts Program such as the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, professional development opportunities for tradition bearers, performances at festivals, and folk art exhibits, among others.

With a background in history, anthropology, and folklore, and adept at conversational Spanish, Daly was well-qualified to conduct the research. With this work, he added valuable experience to his resume, and helped the region document its cultural heritage.

–Steven Hatcher, Folk and Traditional Arts Director

Having the opportunity to conduct fieldwork for the Idaho Commission on the Arts was a tremendous experience that helped me grow as a folklorist. I learned a great deal of tactics regarding how to track down informants, the types of questions to ask during interviews, and how to establish rapport with local businesses. Given that my field notes are 70 pages long and fairly exhaustive, I will offer here some of thoughts about what each county offers. My time as a fieldworker will be one that I remember forever. For me, it was sort of like a month-long historical road trip. I learned so much and gained indispensable skills.

–Jack Daly, fieldworker

Read more: Part 2