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East Idahoans are proud of their heritage and they showed up in force to celebrate it at the Eastern Idaho 150 Kickoff Celebration at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Events Center Monday night. Committee Chair Jacquee Alvord said she couldn't have been more pleased with the attendance of over 700 people in celebration of Idaho becoming a territory.
"This is the first time such an event has taken place," a beaming Alvord said. "This is unique; it's quite the gathering and it's only the beginning of a year full celebrations in honor of the sesquicentennial."
Mike Webster, who attended the event on behalf of Idaho Governor Butch Otter, welcomed the group saying he is "pleased that so many people care about Idaho and the sesquicentennial," and jokingly added, "I didn't know there were even this many people in East Idaho."
On a serious note, Nathan Small, chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Business Council expressed his pride in the Native American culture.
"When you think about it, 150 years really isn't hat long ago," he said. "It's still fresh in a lot of our minds what has happened through the years. We've come a long ways. We have survived as a people. We have good neighbors and we have been good neighbors."
Bannock Tribal Elder Ramona Welema offered a passionate prayer spoken in both English and her native tongue; followed by the singing of the National Anthem where the audience joined in to sing the rarely heard second and third verses of the song.
U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo presented a video presentation of Idaho (past and present) followed by a Territorial Tribal History offered by Darrel Shay, Cultural Resources Director of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
David Leroy, Former Lt. Governor and Attorney General of the State of Idaho, gave a historical presentation on the state.
In closing, the audience stood to sing Idaho's state song, "Here We Have Idaho."
For information on all of the Idaho sesquicentennial events planned in East Idaho throughout the year go to www.southeastidaho.us.