There has been human habitation in the area that is now Idaho for nearly 17,000 years. The Niimiipuu “the walking people” or Nez Perce), for instance, have lived on the Columbia River Plateau for over ten millennia. The Niimiipuu were part of a trade and cultural network that stretched from the western shores of what is now Washington to the plains of Montana and Nevada. Today, the Niimiipuu continue to speak their traditional language, which is part of the Sahaptin group. The Schitsu’umsh (“the discovered people” or Coeur d’Alene) live in what is now the panhandle of Idaho. The Bannock split off from the Northern Paiute and eventually joined with the Northern Shoshone to become the Shoshone-Bannock. The name of the state comes from an exclamation in Shoshone that means something akin to “Behold the sun coming down the mountain.”
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