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Dr. Chris Campbell,
Director, UI School of Communication

Native culture rich, important stories to be told
Lori Edmo-Suppah,
UI Journalist in Residence, 2001 -02

Cooperation key to gathering information
Kathrin Podbrecnik
American movies help perpetuate European stereotypes
Kathrin Podbrecnik
Strength of Native culture overpowers oppression
Morgan Winsor
Changing 's-word' controversial but needed to make a difference
Tribes hold to the way of their ancestors

by Leah Andrews

Before the land was called Idaho, they fished the streams, followed game, had ceremonial dances and harvested native roots.
The five sovereign nations that exist within the boundaries of Idaho still hold to many of the ways of their ancestors dating back to when there were no lines on a map signifying state and reservation boundaries.
The tribes have different languages, customs, traditions and governing systems. Some reservations are checkered, meaning that non-Indians own land within the reservation boundaries, and there are reservations where land is held in trust by the tribe, which means the tribe instead of the individual has ownership of the land. Yet they all share a hope that their traditions and stories will live on with future generations.
Many have instituted language programs so new generations will learn their ancestral language, and oral traditions of recent and ancient histories are still passed from generation to generation.
Since tribes are sovereign they have their own governing body, all five Idaho tribes have a chairman or chairwoman and a tribal council that are elected by tribal members to represent the tribe and make legislative decisions.
The northernmost tribe in Idaho is the Kootenai tribe, located near Bonners Ferry. The Kootenais have the distinction of being the only tribe in Idaho that never signed a treaty with the United States.
Kootenai Chairman Gary Aitken says that the tribe enjoys a healthy relationship with the neighboring community of Bonners Ferry and that often city and tribal officials work together on projects such as environmental conservation.
A sturgeon hatchery, a tribal school and the Kootenai River Inn are three accomplishments tribal members are especially proud of.
Coeur d’ Alene
The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Reservation totals 345,000 acres of land, stretching along Highway 95 encompassing Plummer, Worley and Tensed. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision also granted the tribe control over the southern part of the Coeur d’Alene Lake.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has developed a large gaming facility as well as a hotel and a venue for concerts and other events on the reservation, which has led to an economic boom in the community. Along with the Nez Perce and Kootenai tribes, the Coeur d’Alenes have submitted an initiative to legalize electronic gaming machines in Idaho that will be on the next Idaho state election ballot.
The Coeur d’Alene tribe has also broken new ground in creating a community wellness center that is funded by state and Bureau of Indian affairs grants. It is for the use not only of tribal members but also for non-Indians who live on the reservation or in the surrounding communities.

Nez Perce
The Nez Perce Tribe is located in North Central Idaho near Lewiston. In 2003 during the bi-centennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Nez Perce Reservation will be an important site as many travelers re-trace the path of the Corps of Discovery.
Although they are called the Nez Perce, that name came from a French Canadian interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition and means "pierced nose." Most Nez Perce did not pierce their noses, and although the name is widely used, they refer to themselves as Nimi’ipuu, which means the "real people" or "we the people."

                 Spring Creek in Fort Hall Bottoms

Both Shoshone and Bannock tribal members share the 544,000 acre Fort Hall reservation near Pocatello, Idaho; many on the reservation are both Shoshone and Bannock. There are also Lemhi-Shoshone on the Fort Hall reservation, including families that can trace their lineage back to Sacajawea.
Land and environmental issues are important to the Sho-Bans. There are projects on the reservation to replenish stream life as well as other wildlife on the reservation. The tribe is also dealing with issues of pollution caused by a large industrial plant that operated on the reservation.
The Duck Valley reservation crosses over the Idaho-Nevada border. Duck Valley is primarily a ranching and farming community. The reservation is populated by Shoshone and Paiute Indians. The lack of infrastructure allows those who live in Duck Valley to enjoy a breathtaking view of the stars at night. And cowboys wearing ten-gallon hats and long bandanas around their necks can be found sitting at the counter of the reservation’s two restaurants or driving along the road in their pickup trucks.
Although every tribe in Idaho is different, each tribe once had a much larger aboriginal territory than the reservations where they are now located. Like kings speaking of a fallen empire, tribal elders pass on the history to younger tribal members of lands that once belonged to the tribes.
While the tribes all have similar sad and sometimes bitter stories, they also share a passion for their cultural history: Powwows, traditional crafts like bead working and moccasin making, story telling and spiritual ceremonies.
Each tribe has a rich culture. These are the tribes of Idaho, which existed before Idaho did, and still exist today.
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