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Native Americans push for increased respect for tribal lands

Tribal members say it's important to respect their voices and spaces when visiting Native areas.

BOISE, Idaho — It’s no secret that Idaho has a very deep Native history. Each tribe is extremely diverse with different languages and cultural customs.

While their ways of life are often viewed through a historical lens, their cultures, traditions, and contributions are still here and thriving.

Living in Idaho, you’re bound to come across Native land.

People from all over the world visit Native lands each year to learn about them. When visiting a place that is sacred to Native people, it’s important to respect their voices and spaces, Shoshone-Bannock Tribe member Randy'L Teton said. 

“I would suggest when you do visit a reservation, don't be afraid to ask questions, but don't be pushy," she said.

Respect could include asking a local business for the official name of the tribe you are visiting as a sign of respect.

“It's okay to ask a receptionist at the hotel and or casino the official name of the tribe. I think the term 'Indian' is no longer acceptable," Teton said. "We also have certain names that would be acceptable to that certain tribe."

All five tribes in Idaho have different traditions and customs, so there’s plenty for travelers to learn from one native space to the next.

“Participate in visiting their local tribal museums and their cultural centers to have a basic knowledge of where they come from,” Teton said.

While most questions are encouraged, Teton says there are some things that are not acceptable when visiting native lands.

"Some people may come in and take pictures of things that may not be appropriate and have loud discussions on things that they learned from their grandparents coming from the cowboys and Indians era,” she said. .

Teton says the tribes in Idaho see travelers from all over the state and Utah. She says she appreciates seeing visitors and encourages them to listen, learn, and ask questions while visiting Native land.

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