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ID Cities Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

Boise, Idaho first recognized Indigenous Peoples Day in 2018. (Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence)
Boise, Idaho first recognized Indigenous Peoples Day in 2018. (Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence)
October 14, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – Momentum is growing to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, including in Idaho cities.

On Monday, the Indigenous Idaho Alliance, indigenous communities in Boise and representatives of the Five Tribes of Idaho gather in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building to mark the occasion.

Tai Simpson, social change advocate with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, says Native Americans are not historical figures – they thrive across the state, and not in stereotypical ways.

She says these communities have persevered through forced displacement and a number of attacks over centuries.

"All of these things have taken place over the course of 400 years,” Simpson states. “We're just getting loud and our fight is getting louder and our work as activists and organizers is becoming more focused on asserting our sovereignty and celebrating ourselves as we stand now."

Boise and Moscow recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, and Idaho State University is hosting its first celebration of the day this year.

Nationwide, eight states and more than 100 cities have also made the change.

Gov. Brad Little has issued a proclamation designating Monday Indigenous People's Day.

Simpson notes the governor won't be reading the proclamation, but says it's important, especially in the wake of Idaho Republican lawmakers' taking issue with Boise State University's programs dedicated to diversity and inclusion, including a Native American organization.

"The significance and the relationship of that letter and how it relates to Indigenous Peoples Day is that the governor has acknowledged that we exist in the community and that our contributions are important and valuable and valid," Simpson states.

After the proclamation reading, there will be a gathering and meal.

Simpson says food is integral to bringing together native communities.

"That's the beautiful thing about indigenous communities,” she states. “Like, once you've sat down and shared a meal and shared a story with one another, you're now family. And that's the big takeaway I want people to leave with."

A North American Tribal Nations map is online, as well as an international map of native lands, at native-land.ca.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID