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Women’s Suffrage Sculpture Foreshadows Idaho Women’s ‘Unlimited Future’
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Monday, December 5, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Talk of women’s suffrage in Idaho usually starts with the fact that Idaho was the fourth state to give women the right to vote. Or that Emma Edwards Green was the only woman to design a state seal.

The new Idaho Women’s Suffrage Commemorative Sculpture goes back further than that, rightfully noting that Idaho’s own Sacajawea had a prominent role in history as she led the Lewis and Clark Expedition across the Bitterroot Mountains in what would open the door to white man’s settlement of Idaho and the American West.

Her role as a leader among women is noted in the new Idaho Women’s Suffrage Commemorative Sculpture, which will be unveiled on Dec. 12 on the grounds of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise.

Idaho State Historical Society Director Janet Gallimore will come to Ketchum ahead of that to discuss the sculpture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Community Library.

Those who wish to see the presentation in person may reserve their space at https://thecommunitylibrary.libcal.com/event/9842309. The program will be livestreamed and available to watch later at https://vimeo.com/event/2567450.

The sculpture is an initiative of the Idaho Women 100 project, which commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment that guaranteed American women the right to vote.

It was created by Irene Deely, an Eagle, Idaho, sculptor who also designed a sculpture of Polly Bemis, the Chinese woman whose story is recounted in the 1991 film “Thousand Pieces of Gold.” Deely also created a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, which sits in Boise’s Julia Davis Park.

The new sculpture is designed to symbolize Idaho’ women’s “courageous past and unlimited future” as it reminds Idahoans of Idaho’s leadership as the fourth state to grant women’s suffrage in 1896 and of the state’s role as the 30th state to ratify the national women’s suffrage amendment in 1920.

The woman depicted in the sculpture walks metaphorically in the footsteps of those who came before, handing off her shoe to the future.

Those footsteps are depicted by Sacajawea’s moccasins, the Victorian shoes of Idaho pioneer women and even the footwear of Japanese-American detainees at the Minidoka Internment Camp during World War II.

 

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