Tribal Walking Parade honoring Boise Valley Tribes on Friday, June 10 at Eagle Rock Park.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
BOISE — The 11th Annual Return of the Boise Valley People (ROBVP) event was June 9 to 12 with a celebration of reunion and culture between the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, Burns Paiute, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone.
The five original Boise Valley Tribes come from different areas because when gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800s the people were marched out by the military into different directions.
The event began with a tribal consultation meeting between the Idaho Military Division and tribal leaders from representing tribes.
Following was an opening ceremony at Boise City Hall.
Wilson Wewa offered a prayer song for the event.
Boise City Council President Pro Tem Holli Woodings read a proclamation from Boise Mayor Lauren McLean declaring June 9 as Return of the Boise Valley People Day. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Shoshone Paiute Tribes and the Idaho National Guard.
Lori Ann Edmo, a ROBVP coordinator, explained it was the ancestors who were the main reasons they return every year.
“That’s something that’s been instilled in our people to come back here and let them know that we’ll never forget them and we pray at Eagle Rock,” she said. Adding the eventual goal of the group is to establish a nonprofit and eventually build a cultural center.
A sunrise ceremony was at Eagle Rock Park on Friday, June 10 led by the Shoshone Paiute Tribe. Chris Caskey offered the prayer and the Sunrise Singers sang for the occasion.
Various tribal booths were set up offering information and different cultural demonstrations.
A special presentation recognized landowner Tom Terteling who returned a significant cultural site on Bogus Basin Road to Boise Valley Tribes. Also recognized was Erick Robinson, a Boise State University archaeology professor who was instrumental in the donation process.
Lionel Boyer and his daughter Wynona Boyer in front of the renamed Rock Frog tank, named
by the late Merceline Bel Boyer.
After lunch the Tribal Walking Parade highlighted all Boise Valley Tribes present along with their tribal flags.
The celebration continued at Gowen Field where a Tank Naming Ceremony took place. Shoshone-Paiute Chairman Brian Thomas said the blessing for the tank.
Major General Michael Garshak, Adjutant General of Idaho and Commanding General of the Idaho National Guard, welcomed all the original people of the Boise Valley to Gowen Field. He said they have many shared values as well as respect, appreciate and honor the veterans who fight on behalf of our freedoms.
“Every war throughout the United States histories have included Native Americans who have fought bravely side by side with soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors in every war. We respect and honor their service.”
He spoke about the A10 Jet, which was named “Warrior Spirit” and a couple years later a Blackhawk Helicopter was named Tusaipuhe in honor of the original Boise Valley People.
The newly named M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank would not only honor veterans in the military service of the tribes but also bring the spirit of the warrior with the soldiers and airmen when they go into battle.
Col. Dan Lister, in charge of the armor training institute, said “Your ancestors who lived in these mountains and valleys were warriors, as guardsman we share in this warrior spirit and the love for duty to preserve and protect this land.”
He said the warrior spirit is about overcoming challenges and adversity, it’s about possessing and utilizing a set of mental and physical skills to enable one to be effective, adaptive and persistent. Having a warriors attitude means that you will stand for what you believe in. A warrior knows the difference between right and wrong and has the courage to choose right. A warriors mindset guides his or her actions. It means standing up for what is right and true.
The Abrams tank was named after General Creighton W. Abrams. He became an armor officer early in the development in the armor branch of the U.S. Army by applying his qualities as a leader he consistently exploited the relatively small advantages of his tanks in speed and reliability and defeated enemy forces that had an advantage in superior armor and superior guns in World War II. He continued his leadership and service in the Korea and Vietnam conflicts.
“This tank has long range and high definition day and night optics targeting the communication systems that allow the commanders to see and gage and destroy the enemy threat before they can attack,” he said.
“Your warrior ancestors were skilled and knowledgeable in tactics. They knew the terrain. They were skilled and utilized in weapons of the day and were experts in horsemanship. This tank is used to train soldiers to the highest level of armored crew efficiency as possible. The training they receive here builds skills, expertise and trust in each other as a team of warriors.”
Col. Lister told the crowd they’re honored to dedicate the tank in recognition of their heritage, cultural sacrifices and support as they strive for excellence.
“May the bond of our shared devotion to maintain a strong warrior spirit go forward for many generations,” he said.
The Tank was dedicated as Rock Frog, to honor the Boise Valley Tribes and Idaho Tribes. The Rock Frog name came from the late Merceline Bel Boyer, who came up with the idea for the tank name prior to her passing in 2020. The artwork on the tank was created by Boise Valley descendants Samantha Pretty Weasel who did the purple floral geometric design and Burdett Osborne, who did the Rock Frog art.
Unveiling of the tank was met with an honor song.
Dinner hosted by the Fort McDermitt and Burns Paiute Tribes and oral presentation closed the day’s events.
Saturday’s, June 11 events started with a sunrise ceremony by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and led by tribal elder Fredrick Auck. Singers from Fort Hall included Stephan Kniffin, Kevin Toane and Louis Auck.
A walk/run to Eagle Rock and Table Rock got participants moving in the morning with a race to the finish line.
Table Rock winners were the following:
Men’s 18 & over first place Delmar Kelly; second place B. Smith; Silvester Gonzalez.
Women’s 18 & over first place illegible; second place S. Jack; third place Leah Smartt.
Teen boys/girls first place Hazebah Wahtomy, no second or third place participants.
Girls/boys 12 & under no participants.
Eagle Rock winners were the following:
Men’s 18 & over first place Ethan Thomas; second place J. Williams; third place Arnold Sam.
Women’s 18 & over first place Amanda Martinez; second place Anna Bowers; third place Erica Thomas.
Teen Boys/Girls first place Sitka Quenelle; second place Kylex Ariwite; third place Treyvin Hanks.
Girls/Boys 12 & under first place Javery Yupe; second place Ivan B.; third place Jameson Smith.
Meanwhile, a firepit was being prepared at Gowen Field which would be used to roast gedu/yaha (groundhog) for lunch hosted by the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe. Delmar Kelly also demonstrated how to make ash bread, which was taught to him by his grandmother,
Cultural workshops took place including the Rabbit Skin Blanket Making by instructors Yvette Towersap and Daisy Dixey. Lori Edmo, Hoss Suppah and Kaycee Dixey demonstrated traditional salmon preparation, which was served for dinner.
Indian games took place throughout the afternoon with games like kick the shoe, tug-o-war, foot races, a yaha race and more with fun had by all ages.
The auction was emceed by Sho-Ban elder Lionel Boyer with proceeds going towards future ROBVP events.
The day ended with dinner with Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs hosting the meal, storytelling and a hand drum contest featuring seven participants with winners, first place Devon Deitch; second place Lathaniel Nappo Sr.; third place Alva Kelly Rose.
A rainy Sunday, June 12 morning was met with a sunrise prayer and singing, ending the weekend event.