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Native American Kootenai Leader Walks On

Former Kootenai Native American leader Amy Trice passes away after complications during surgery.
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Amy Trice, leader of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho when it declared a peaceful war on the United States in 1974, walked on Thursday, July 21 following complications during surgery. According to, her "leadership was integral in bringing what was a small, dying tribe to national attention, and in so doing restored the dignity of its people."

Trice grew up in the 1930s in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. She watched the repression of her people, a small community that never signed a treaty with the United States government and lived in tipis outside of town. So, in 1974 she—as tribal chairperson at the time—and the 67 other tribe members declared war on the U.S., but not the guns-blazing kind of war. "Tribal members set up toll booths on local roads, threatening to close them if their demands were not met," reported

While all of their demands were not met, the spectacle garnered national attention and got the tribe a 12-acre mission on Kootenai River, a clinic and decent housing. At the time Trice said, "we got our dignity back. That was what the war accomplished."

The Kootenai Tribe has faced many challenges since then, many of which Trice saw the tribe through. To read more about her time as chairperson, see the full story on

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Services for Trice will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 26 at St. Anne's Catholic Church, 6712 El Paso St., in Bonners Ferry, with burial to follow at the Kootenai Mission.

Sonya Rosario told Trice's story in a 2009 documentary shown at the Sundance Film Festival, part of it can be seen here: