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Pioneer Day Brings Tribes, LDS Together

This year’s Pioneer Day Celebration in Pocatello tried to bring together the local Native-American and LDS communities.

Most Pioneer Days focus on celebrating the pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who settled in the area, but this year local church leaders wanted to recognize Native-American pioneers, a people that conquered the area well before western settlers.

“We all have pioneers in our families. Maybe they didn’t come across the planes in a covered wagon or a handcart,? Pioneer Day Celebration chairman Mark Baker said.

Larry EchoHawk is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs for the Department of the Interior. He and his wife, Terry,were asked by local LDS leaders to be the parade’s grand marshals.

“Today, I think, there’s a significant effort to be able to connect with the Native-American community that was already here at that time. So, I consider this to be an outreach which is a very positive thing for the community,? EchoHawk said.

Organizers celebrate the community’s history during the days events, and pioneers and Native-Americans have a lot of history. Though it hasn’t always been positive history between the two.

“In the past we’ve had chapters in American history where there have not been good relations between native people and people that were settling the west, but I think today we’ve got many more things that bring us together than divide us,? EchoHawk said.

The people behind the day’s celebrations said everybody has pioneers in their past, and the celebration is for everyone regardless of religion.

“It’s an inclusive celebration. It’s for the whole community. Whether you live in Pocatello, Chubbuck, or whether you live in Fort Hall, it’s for everyone,? Baker said.

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