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Pocatello Mayor Hosts Unity Rally at ISU, Faces New Flap With Shoshone-Bannock Tribes


Idaho State University administration building. - ERIC KJAEMPERUD, CC BY 3.0
  • Eric Kjaemperud, CC by 3.0
  • Idaho State University administration building.

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad hosted what he called a "Unity Rally" at Idaho State University on Saturday two weeks after U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson met with ISU students to discuss hate crimes and possible criminal civil rights violations on or near campus.

Earlier this month, ISU President Arthur Vailas confirmed  about 50 Middle Eastern students had been "victims of off-campus home burglaries," in addition to several reports of cars being vandalized—some of which belonged to international students—and the discovery of DVDS containing anti-Muslim messages left on a number of vehicles on campus.

Al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti Arabic-language newspaper and Gulf News, an English-language newspaper out of Dubai both reported April 14 that the two Gulf nations were suspending scholarships earmarked for ISU and transferring students from ISU to other universities.

KIDK-TV reports Mayor Blad's rally drew thousands of students to the ISU Student Union Building and proclaimed April 30 "Unity and Support Day" to encourage Pocatello to embrace and appreciate the diverse community.

“You know, unity and showing that unity for each other, respect and different things is just incredible to have that happening right now," Blad told KIDK. Unfortunately, Blad may have another unity problem.

KIDK reports the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are claiming they are being discriminated against by the City of Pocatello. The Pocatello Solar Company wants a new development to include land within the boundaries of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Fort Hall Reservation. Tribe officials want to finalize the deal but the solar company says it was told by city officials they can't strike a deal without the city's permission. When asked abut the flap at his Unity Rally on Saturday, Blad told KIDK, "Oh, heavens, no! You know, it has nothing to do with discrimination. It has everything to do with jurisdictional rights and jurisdiction in the City of Pocatello that was annexed in the '80s."