KyRae Farmer, Donavan Tendoy and Jackson Amboh were recipients of the Bingham County Mayor Scholarship and were recognized at the May 27 graduation ceremony.
By DANA HERNANDEZ
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School graduation was May 27 at the Maxine Racehorse Edmo Memorial Football Field.
There were 21 graduates — the Salutatorian was Drede Dann and Valedictorian was Mikael Ariwite. Three students were recognized for receiving the Bingham County Mayor Scholarship and were awarded a matched amount of $500 from the SBHS School Board, those recipients were KyRae Farmer, Donavan Tendoy, and Jackson Amboh. The scholarships will be used to any school of the recipient’s choice.
Graduating seniors are Jackson Amboh, Mikael Ariwite, Kyton Burnett, Leroy Damon, Drede Dann, Nevada Eagle, Thomasina Eagle, Ranissia Edmo, KyRae Farmer, Tony Jay, Dre’Syn Jim, Kessa Martinez, Jason Navo, Lucy Pine, Ethan Plentywounds, Nakoda Roybal, Jamaya Sonnip, Daniel Tarness, Donavan Tendoy, Shayla Tendoy-Bache, and Tason Turner.
MC for the event was Tyson Shay, prayer was given by Louida Ingawanup, welcome address was given by the Student Council President, Ethan Plentywounds and Vice President KyRae Farmer. Sammy Matsaw was the keynote speaker and Spirit Horse was the honorary drum group. Also present was the FHBC, Devon Boyer, Ladd Edmo, and LeeJuan Tyler and the SBHS School Board members, Becki Ingawanup, Tony Saiz, David Archuleta, Rainelle Edmo, and Sunshine Sheppard.
FHBC Chairman Devon Boyer thanked everyone in attendance for their support and determination because that’s what got the students through everything. “The best advice I have for you is to keep going and to not let anything get in your way. Do things in a good way, you are all warriors, that’s what you are,” said Boyer.
Sho-Ban High School graduating class listens to the keynote speaker.
FHBC Member, Ladd Edmo congratulated the class of 2021 and said this was just the start of their future, in their journey of life and the future ahead of them is bright.
LeeJuan Tyler said he attended SBHS when it was an alternate school and was one of the first graduates from 1978. Tyler ended his speech with a graduation song for the students.
Keynote speaker, Sammy Matsaw said he was a graduate of SBHS and attended the year before the school was moved over to its current location. His parents are the late Sammy Matsaw Sr. and his mother is Julia Fasthorse. He then acknowledged those from the boarding school era, as Louida Ingawanup who led the graduation prayer, was a boarding school student. He also acknowledged the teachers who spend a lot of time with students and everyone on the stage, he then acknowledged the families who support the students and the graduates. “Education is a funny place for us and I remember being honored at this high school and I remember being cared for,” said Matsaw.
Matsaw said when he was growing up, he also experienced the stories of substance abuse issues, violence and criminal activity. “I can relate to the students. Sometimes, those things happened and I was a part of them, but I was fortunate to have people around me to support me and to help get me to this point and graduate high school and to continue on to school,” said Matsaw.
Keynote speaker Sammy Matsaw addresses the graduating class.
Matsaw spoke about the four R words that hold true value for tribal communities: respect, reciprocity, responsibility, and relationality or relationships. He went over each word and explained how it brought meaning to his life.
He said, there is both inner and outer respect. Inner respect is self-respect and can be told in many ways. One way is taking care of your body, by drinking your water in the morning and blessing yourself. Outer respect was taught to Matsaw by his father, and was advised to not call an aunt or uncle by their first name. “Respecting the people, you are surrounded by gives an indication to how much you respect yourself,” said Matsaw.
Reciprocity is the energy in the world that can come back to us. Matsaw told his “stealing horses” story about the time when he was in high school and his friends and him caught a ride to Pocatello and stole bikes from someone’s lawn and rode them back to the reservation. He was proud of the bike he stole. Later, when he was attending ISU he got himself a really nice mountain bike, which was stolen from him. Then when he was attending the University of Idaho he got himself another bike that was stolen as well. “Reciprocity is funny, you need to be careful about what kind of energy you put out in the world,” said Matsaw.
Responsibility goes along with accountability, and Matsaw said this was taught to him by his cousin from Pine Ridge who said the reason why the old people turn their hands up and down when they pray is because of Uppah and Bia, “we’re acknowledging the earth and the sky. That is responsibility, the sun comes up it takes care of us and tells us to wake up and open our eyes. When our eyes open there is all this energy and endorphins that build and tell us to wake up. Uppah is telling us to be responsible, to wake up and to take care of your family.”
Relationality is our relationship to the land and each other. Matsaw said, “this is our home and our lands, we belong here, our ancestors have lived here forever.” Matsaw spoke about he met his wife Jessica while he was trying to heal through Sundancing. “It’s really important to get on the right pathway so you can see your true self, you will start to see the true self of other people and you will realize where you belong. Make sure you discern what a healthy relationship is and when one is not.”
Matsaw closed his speech with telling the graduates they deserved their diplomas because they earned them. He said, “on behalf of the alumni of this school and on behalf of my education and a veteran and on behalf of the community, I want to acknowledge you and I want to tell you that you are smart, beautiful and we love you.”