Tours explore Idaho’s surprising diversity

Wednesday, March 14 2012

Idaho may not have as much diversity among its residents as California and New York, but the University of Idaho Extension’s eight popular “Journey for Diversity” tours—hosted since 2005—continue to surprise participants with Idaho’s colorful past. The next tour Oct. 4-5 will explore diversity in the Twin Falls to Pocatello region.

One tour “helped me teach students that Idaho not only has more diversity than we are aware of, but also that all people have common needs and rights,” said one recent participant.

Faculty-led Thursday-Friday tours to each region of Idaho have introduced K-12 teachers, government employees, community and business leaders to Japanese-Americans interred during WWII at Minidoka, northern Idaho mine workers, alums of Indian boarding schools, and people who fought Aryan Nation enclaves.

Tours visited sites where Chinese immigrants built our railroads, Black Buffalo soldiers fought the massive 1910 wildfires, and Indian tribes made it possible for early pioneers to survive here.

Each journey is designed to “develop a cadre of people to work for human rights and inclusiveness within our home communities,” says Harriet Shaklee, UI Extension family development specialist who created and runs the tours with help from more than 100 sponsors.

More information is available by contacting Shaklee at