Historic proclamation declares Indigenous Peoples' Day in Boise

Posted at 5:07 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 19:07:34-04

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter issued a proclamation that announced October 8 as Indigenous Peoples' Day, the same day that many Americans observe the Columbus Day holiday.

"We are the first city in Idaho to recognize and proclaim this day," announced Bieter.

This is part of a movement that started in 1992 in Berkeley, CA on the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in what would become the United States of America.

"There is a misconception of erasing history and that is not at all what we are doing," said Tai Simpson of the Nez Perce Tribe. "We are only telling the truth of history as it should have been told in the first place."

Native Americans lived in what would become Boise before soldiers drove the Native Americans out of the valley back in 1869.

"Boise, land of the river willows, the land of our ancestors our people," said Lionel Boyer a veteran of the Korean War and a member of the Shoshone Paiute Tribes.

Activists have fought for this proclamation for the last five years in an effort to get a seat at the table for Native Americans in the community.

"Indigenous people are not relics of the past we are not historical wild west indians, we are doctors, we are lawyers, we are teachers and we are activists," said Simpson. "We are very much embedded in this community and have a vested interest in how healthy our community is."

Members of the Native American community expressed their gratitude towards the Mayor and city council members and that also included Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan who is a member of the Couer d'Alene tribe and who feels like this is positive step towards a better future.

"Simply saying that we are about moving forward together and I like the fact that we are claiming this day as Indigenous Peoples' Day," said Jordan. "It is a great unifying factor for everyone."

The ceremony also highlighted some of the challenges for Native Americans in modern day society which included equitable education, getting more students into college and the fact that so many Native American women have gone missing and are unaccounted for.

Here's an article from the Billings Gazette in Montana that provides more information on missing women.