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Idaho Proclamation Designates Indigenous People Day

Representatives from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence were among groups gathered to recognize Indigenous People Day

Momentum is growing to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, including in Idaho cities. Today, the Indigenous Idaho Alliance, indigenous communities in Boise and representatives of the Five Tribes of Idaho are gathering in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building to mark the occasion.

Idaho Governor Brad Little has issued a proclamation designating today Indigenous People's Day. The proclamation was read at the state capital building earlier.

"The significance and the relationship of that letter and how it relates to Indigenous Peoples Day is that the governor has acknowledged that we exist in the community and that our contributions are important and valuable and valid," said Tai Simpson.

Simpson is a social change advocate with Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and was among those who represented indigenous people during the Idaho gathering.

Several Idaho Republican lawmakers have taken issue with Boise State University's programs dedicated to diversity and inclusion, including a Native American organization. Simpson say Native Americans are not historical figures, adding they thrive across the state, and not in stereotypical ways. She said these communities have persevered through forced displacement and a number of attacks over centuries.

"All of these things have taken place over the course of 400 years,” said Simpson. “We're just getting loud and our fight is getting louder and our work as activists and organizers is becoming more focused on asserting our sovereignty and celebrating ourselves as we stand now."

The communities of Boise and Moscow recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, and Idaho State University is hosting its first celebration of the day this year. Nationwide, eight states and more than 100 cities have also made the change.