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Bonners Ferry Id Map
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.