The Flathead Indian Reservation is home to three tribes, the Bitterroot Salish, Upper Pend d'Oreille, and the Kootenai. 'Confederated Salish' refers to both the Salish and Pend d'Oreille tribes. Unlike the other tribes in Montana, the Salish migrated from the west. The Kootenai are native to the state. Archeological evidence shows that Native Americans inhabited Montana more than 14.000 years ago. Artifacts found show the Kootenai have roots in the area's prehistory. The Kootenai inhabited the mountainous terrain west of the divide, venturing only seasonally to the east for buffalo hunts. The Kootenai were divided into two main groups. One band lived to the northeast and had a lifestyle based on bison hunting. The other band lived in the mountainous west and had a lifestyle focused on rivers and lakes. The Salish occupied territory in Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana but ventured as far east as the Big Horn Mountains. As the tribe moved west it had to change from a lifestyle based on salmon fishing to one more dependent on native plants and buffalo. During the 1700's, these two tribes, the Salish and the Kootenai, shared common hunting and gathering grounds. Later the Christian church, in the form of Catholicism, heavily influenced the Salish. The affect of the Church played a major role in keeping Western Montana relatively peaceful during the Indian wars. With the signing of the Hellgate treaty, the massive traditional lands of the tribes were reduced to the fertile grounds of the Flathead Reservation.
Flathead Indian Reservation
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Pablo, MT 59855