Fort Hall – On Friday, April 14, 2023 the Idaho Humanities Council held the 2023 Eastern Idaho Distinguished Humanities Lecture with best-selling young adult novelist and Native American author Angeline Boulley, and Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Shelley Lowe, the first Indigenous woman to serve in that capacity. The event was held at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel in the Chiefs Event Center and was moderated by Shoshone-Bannock Tribal member and IHC board member Randy’L Teton.
The event began at 7pm with a welcome by Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Nathan Small, and a performance by Ghost Canyon Singers and local dancers from Fort Hall. Chairman Small acknowledged Claudia Washakie, FHBC Secretary and Roland Marshall, FHBC Treasurer, who were in attendance. He also recognized Congressman Mike Simpson, who also attended the event.
David Pettyjohn, Executive Director of the IHC stated,” It was, perhaps, one of the most successful and exciting evens I have been a part of during my state humanities council career.” There were approximately 325 people in attendance.
Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Firekeeper’s Daughter is her debut novel and was an instant number one New York Times bestseller. The book has been named the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, the Printz Award, the William C. Morris Award for YA debut literature, and was an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book.
Shelly C. Lowe is the Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. From 2015 to 2021 she served as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, twenty-six-member advisory body to NEH, an appointment she received from President Obama.
“The Idaho Humanities Council’s mission is to provide a deeper understanding of human experiences, and we definitely provided this experience at last Friday’s Distinguished Humanities Lecture, stated Randy’L Teton. “Angeline Boulley was an outstanding presenter and it was clear by the number of questions we received from the audience that they connected and enjoyed the presentation.”
Following the panel discussion, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions which included a variety of topics on culture, identity, science, medicine, trauma and reservation “rez” life. The book Firekeeper’s Daughter will soon be heading to Netflix as the book was picked up for adaptation almost immediately. The project is part of the Higher Ground (Barack and Michelle Obama) production company’s deal with Netflix.