Origins Montana Scholars

Kelly DixonKelly J. Dixon
University of Montana,
Professor of Anthropology

Kelly specializes in archaeologies of adaptation, colonization, colonialism, landscapes, landscape transformations, human-environment interactions, boomtowns, extractive industries, marginalized populations, and text-aided approaches to archaeology. Living and working in the North American West, Dixon’s research includes case studies from this region. Among Dixon’s recent publications are: Historical Archaeologies in the American West, Journal of Archaeological Research (2014), An Archaeology of Desperation: Exploring the Donner Party’s Alder Creek Camp, University of Oklahoma Press (2012), co-editor and contributing author (winner of the Society for Historical Archaeology’s 2013 James Deetz Book Award); “A Place of Recreation of Our Own”: Archaeology of the Boston Saloon, in The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Post-Emancipation Life (2012); “Verily the Road was Built with Chinaman’s Bones”: Archaeology of Chinese Line Camps in Montana, International Journal of Historical Archaeology (2012), co-author; and “’Men, Women, and Children Starving’: Archaeology of the Donner Family Camp,” American Antiquity (2010), co-author. Dr. Dixon is dedicated to developing student-oriented interdisciplinary archaeological research at sites throughout Montana, the American West, and the world and is mentoring PhD, MA, and Undergraduate students who are working on applied and academic archaeological topics.
To learn more about Kelly’s work, click here.


Tom BansakTom Bansak
Ecologist and River Enthusiast
Tom has been teaching, guiding, conducting ecological research, leading backcountry expeditions and recreating in Montana and the West since 1996. Tom has a Masters Degree from the University of Montana’ Flathead Lake Biological Station in aquatic ecology and lives with his family at the base of the Swan Mountains near Bigfork, MT.


SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAMichael Billingsley
Back Country Guide

Michael is our Texas native, from the barrio of San Antonio.  He has lead clients both high (as a flight instructor) and low, as a backcountry mule train leader and guide in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana.   As a backcountry guide, Michael educated, protected, and entertained his guests during hunting, fishing, and sightseeing tours.


giles-scholarGiles Thelen
Co-Founder, Origins Montana

Giles is the co-founder of Origins Montana and is an expert in guiding experiences. Whether it is his 16 years as director of North America’s largest pool swim triathlon (The Grizzly Triathlon, written up as one of the best races in Triathlete and Shape Magazines), or leading clients through the process of restoring, revegetating, and beautifying their landscapes with native plants and natural designs, he is excited to share the wonders of the early history and natural world of Montana with his clients.


Mitzi Rossillon
Ms. Rossillon has well-rounded experience which covers both archaeological and historic site inventory and evaluation.  Prior to receiving her Master’s degree in anthropology from Washington State University in 1982, she worked for the University of Southern Colorado and the Sawtooth National Forest and State Historical Society in Idaho.  While with Montana Department of Highways between 1985 and 1990, Ms. Rossillon concentrated her efforts on the process of cultural resource compliance.  As the senior cultural resource person, she assisted management in striking a compromise between historic preservation and the need for improved highways.
(photo coming)


elle-baumlerEllen Baumler

Ellen is the interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society in Helena. She holds a Ph.D. in history, classics and English from the University of Kansas and is a teacher of Montana history and a sought-after tour guide for her extensive knowledge of Montana’s lesser-known past. She is a longtime member of the Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau, a participating scholar in the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmark Workshops “Mining in the Far West,” and an award winning author. Ellen delights in working with all ages and all interest groups from kindergartners to colleagues.


XiaolingKangKangXiaoling Liu

Hello, I am Xiaoling Liu, a person who likes to understand herself and explore the world in the course of traveling. The Chinese people often say that Life is like a journey, people are constantly on a trip! People also say that, reading ten thousand books is not so beneficial as traveling ten thousand miles.  It is true that so long as we don’t stop travelling, we can extend our limited journey of life to every corner of the earth! Just walk and see…! What a fascinating journey that would be!  I am excited to share this journey with you!