"It is not easy flipping through a Thesaurus searching for that perfect, illusive word for a sentence conveying the proper recognition to give a sovereign nation that has given so much to a community the way the Kootenai Tribe
of Idaho has bestowed upon Boundary County.
But since November was proclaimed seven years ago as National American Indian Heritage Month by former President George W. Bush, we figure it's about time.
On our view, it's way overdue.
The Kootenai People have survived more than a century of adversity and have prospered tremendously, and in that endeavor, they have channeled some of that prosperity back into Boundary County in ways that have not only benefitted the school district, but in job creation in a community where employment is scarce, as well as to their holistic watershed approach to the Kootenai River ecosystem.
Yet in all of their efforts - from working to restore the Kootenai River White Sturgeon and a conservation strategy to recover the dwindling burbot population - they have never sought praise or recognition, even though their endeavors addressing water quality issues have contributed to the broader goal of ecosystem restoration.
It's not why they do this.
"They have chosen to exercise their sovereign nation status to help," says Boundary County Commissioner Dan Dinning. "They feel this is their community and their home, too, and they have chosen to care for it and see it prosper. Because of their joint powers agreement with the city and the county that was signed in 2001 what they're doing for this community is unheard of. In a word, it's monumental.""
Get the Story:
Recognizing the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
(Rural Northwest 10/31)