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Local tribes celebrate, reflect at return of the Boise Valley People

Participants in the annual return of the Boise Valley People gather at Eagle Rock Park.
Mónica Esquivel
/
Boise State Public Radio
Participants in the annual return of the Boise Valley People gather at Eagle Rock Park.

Tribes from Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada celebrated their culture at Eagle Rock Park in Boise, a spiritual gathering place where many return to offer prayers for their ancestors.

It was an afternoon filled with demonstrations, colorful regalia, music, and prayer.

“We called this the return of the Boise Valley People. My sister Lori and I met with Mayor Bieter for 10 minutes in 2011 to start this, to let him know that we were going to come back over here," said Louise Dixie, the Cultural Resources Director at the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation.

Mónica Esquivel
/
Boise State Public Radio

"But prior to that, we always came back here to the Warm Springs and held prayer because our ancestors –– this is their homeland,” she continued.

Her family, like many of the other tribes, has a long history tying them to this land. She says they couldn’t come in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that it’s important to keep coming back.

“I've been coming here since I've been on the council. I worked here too — 2004, they were taking out the turbines at Arrowrock Dam on this side," said Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Lee Juan Tyler Tendoy. "So I get to help protect that area, so no looting went along because we had people in there [that were looting] burial sites. We found one of our ancestors — 12,750 years old.”

Tendoy said people have returned to pray for their ancestors since at least 1989 and he hopes healing will help restore some of their homelands.

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