12th annual Return of the Original Boise People ceremony

Five different tribes from three states come together to honor and pray for their ancestors
Posted at 10:53 AM, Jun 13, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — A painful part of Boise's history was remembered Friday afternoon, as members of the original Boise Valley people gathered at Eagle Rock Park.

At the 2023 Return of the Original Boise Valley People Welcoming Ceremony, members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe, the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs gathered to honor their ancestors in their homeland.

The ceremony provides the opportunity for descendants to pay respect to the Native Americans who were forcibly removed by soldiers in the 1860s. Lori Edmo, the President of the Original Boise People LLC, says the ceremony is all about honor, prayer, and education.

"We are here to educate the people in the Boise area about who are tribal people because we come from five different areas, five different tribes and our people were rounded up in the late 1860s by the military and forced out of this area," said Edmo.

Two tribes from Oregon, two from Nevada, and one from southeastern Idaho were all represented at Eagle Rock Park.

Kenton Dick, an elder with the Burns Paiute Tribe out of Oregon, says his family would cross over into Idaho and camp with other Native Americans along the Boise River.

“They said sometimes there were 10,000 Indians up from the five different tribes represented, so we were a part of that group that came up here to visit, camp, fish, hunt. We had games and we were just here," said Dick.

The purpose of this gathering is to not only honor their ancestors and culture but also to educate people.

“This will be the 12th year [of this event]. Our people have come here, in memorial, to come here and pray and honor our ancestors and let them know we're not going to forget them,” Edmo says.

Attendees were able to go to different booths and learn about the history of each of the five tribes, observe cultural demonstrations, and listen to musical performances.

“Just being with them and seeing the camaraderie that they have with each other is good,” says Iona Smith, a local attendee of the event.