Reader's View, tribal gathering: Boise Valley tribes will come together to tell their history

June 12, 2013 

Descendants of the original Boise Valley people are returning to our homeland Friday to Sunday to honor our ancestors.

Tribal members of the Burns Paiute from Burns, Ore.; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Paiute Band, Warm Springs, Ore.; Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, McDermitt, Nev.; Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Fort Hall and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe of Owyhee, Nev. will gather at Quarry View Park and Gowen Field.

The public is invited to share in our culture 1 p.m. Friday at Quarry View Park where tribal leaders will explain the significance of the Boise Valley. Cultural demonstrations will be conducted and each tribe will have booths set up to educate the public.

The cavalry forcibly removed our tribal people from the Boise Valley in 1869 when silver and gold were discovered. Most of the tribal people were marched to the areas where they are now located. However, some were imprisoned at either Fort Boise, Fort Simco or Fort Vancouver in Washington. It was a difficult time for all as many died along the way.

My late grandmother Nettie Lucy Diggie Racehorse said the Boise River ran red with the blood of our people during the removal and those memories made it difficult for her to return to her homeland. Her father Charlie Diggie was born on the banks of the Boise River and his father Captain Jim was one of the Boise Shoshone leaders.

Idaho Territorial Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs Caleb Lyons signed the Boise Treaty of 1864. The treaty said the Boise Shoshones would give up most of the valley, with the exception of land 30 miles on each side of the Boise River from its center to all the country drained from its mouth to its source. An equal share of fisheries was promised. The land was relinquished in good faith but Congress never ratified the treaty and the title never provided.

Our version of history is not told in Idaho history books. Our people have always returned to the Boise Valley to pray for our ancestors at Eagle Rock or Castle Rock located above Quarry View Park.

In 1990, Boise Valley tribal descendants and the East End Neighborhood Association advocated to protect Eagle or Castle Rock. The land known as the Castle Rock Reserve was purchased with funds raised from the city of Boise, the neighborhood association and $5,000 provided by the Shoshone-Bannock.

All of the tribes decided we needed to gather annually so we had the first Return of the Boise Valley People event in 2011 at Quarry View and Barber Park where more than 400 people attended to share oral history and visit with one another. The second event was in 2012 at Quarry View Park and Gowen Field.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Culture Committee decided to submit for a Boise 150 grant so we could tell our stories. We believe our ancestors are icons of the valley because their memory is forever etched in the land and our ties still remain.

Lori Edmo-Suppah is the editor of Sho-Ban News and a Boise Valley descendant.

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