Opinion » Note

Place Makers


While I usually try to avoid turning this space into a guided table of contents, it's hard to resist enthusing about a few items in particular in this issue of Boise Weekly.

Though we didn't really plan it this way, there are three excellent pieces in this paper exploring the nature of place, and this place in particular: How the people who live here are affected by their surroundings, and how those surroundings are affected by them.

First, there's BW freelancer Carissa Wolf's fascinating feature story on the health care crisis facing members of the Shoshone-Paiute, who have lived on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation on the Idaho-Nevada border for more than a century. While other communities in rural Idaho face an acute doctor shortage, the Shoshone-Paiute struggle more so from the remoteness of the lands they have been forced to occupy, as well as a vicious cycle of poverty that is a direct result of the long history of broken promises made to them by the U.S. government. Check out the story on Page 12.

Second, there's News Editor George Prentice's profile of immigrant farm workers in Canyon County and their daily battle to carve out a life in an adopted home (see Page 9). From securing health care to putting food on the table life is fraught with challenges that those who were born here take for granted. Despite those struggles, and maybe in some ways because of them, those who pulled up stakes and risked everything to make a life in this community harbor a well earned sense of love and respect for the place.

Finally, there's freelancer Christina Marfice's arts story on a new memorial paying homage to a mostly forgotten Boise pioneer, Jesus Urquides (see Page 25). A successful businessman in Mexico, Urquides struck out for Idaho in the 1860s, eventually settling in the area that is now the intersection of Main and Second streets. Urquides prospered as a renowned muleteer, and a community grew up around him that came to be known as his "village." Fellow mule packers and Mexican immigrants were attracted to Urquides' land, which they helped establish as a vibrant and vital part of Boise's early development. Boise wouldn't be the Boise we know without this (formerly) unsung local founding father.

That kind of journalism is what we do best: It not only tells us what's happening, but introduces us to our own world in ways that surprise us--even, maybe especially, when it's our own backyard.