Mayor Bieter reads historic proclamation regarding Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Boise
Boise is the first city in Idaho to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, said Mayor Dave Bieter, who made an official proclamation Monday on the City Hall steps.
“We are honored to do this today,” he said. “It’s a long time coming — that’s an understatement, obviously — but we’re happy to do this today.”
“It’s still surreal,” said Tai Simpson, a community organizer for the Nez Perce tribe. When the framed proclamation was displayed on a table Monday morning, “I started shaking and crying, because this has been a long time coming.”
Simpson said local indigenous groups have tried to get a proclamation passed for the past five years. But it took a few tries to get the wording right, she said.
“To see the proclamation written in such a way that acknowledges the indigenous people original to the Boise Valley, there’s some validation in that humanity is being acknowledged, and that is so important in what is happening today,” Simpson said.
The ceremony featured drummers from the Shoshone Bannock Tribes, who played “Honor Song,” as well as speakers from the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the Shoshone Paiute Tribes.
“If there’s anything that anybody takes away from today, it’s that indigenous people are not (relegated) to the past,” Simpson said. “We’re not historic ‘Wild West’ Indians. We are doctors. We are lawyers. We are teachers. We are activists. We are very much embedded in this community and we very much have a vested interest in how healthy our community is.”
The proclamation came on Columbus Day, reflecting a national movement to replace the holiday. “The colonial takeovers of the Americas, starting with Columbus, led to the deaths of millions of Native people and the forced assimilation of survivors,” says the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian.