Assiniboin Indians

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Indians of Montana > Assiniboin Indians

Alternate Names: Assiniboine, Nakoda

{{#if: Grosventre, Yanktonai Sioux, Cree, Chippewa|
1990 5,274 in the U.S. and others in Canada 
1904 2,600 [1]
1890 3,008 [2]
1843 abt. 7,000 [3]

Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands: Great Lakes area

Fort Peck Reservation in Montana
Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana
Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada


Federally recognized

Linguistic Group


Cultural Group

not yet researched

Other Related Ethnic Groups

Grosventre, Yanktonai Sioux, Cree, Chippewa


Originally part of the Yanktonai Dakota (Nakota) Indians, they separated in the early 1700's and settled in the area between the Saskatchewan and Missouri Rivers. In 1780 their population was estimated at 10,000.

Inter-tribal warfare forced the Assiniboin to migrate from Great Lakes to Minnesota, where the tribe came in contact with non-Indians in the 1800s. They migrated during the 1830s to "Montana," where Fort Union was built by the American Fur Company.

A smallpox epidemic de-populated the tribe by 4,000 in 1836.

During the mid 1840s and into the 1850s, emigrants were traveling west across the country in pursuit of silver, gold and land. In 1851 the tribe signed a treaty agreeing not to attack those traveling on the Oregon Trail, and tribe was assigned land in western Montana.

In the 1870s the tribe settled on reservations in the United States - Fort Belknap Reservation (with Grosventre Tribe) and Fort Peck Reservation (with Sioux Tribes) - and in Canada - tracts of land in Saskatchewan and Alberta (with Sioux, Cree and Chippewa). Reservation living was difficult at best.

The logistics of providing food for the tribes was not efficient. When supplies failed to arrive, disappointed and hungry leaders sometimes confronted the government and military officials, which sometimes developed into warfare.

Fredrick W. Hodge states that in 1904, there were 644 Assiniboin Indians living at Fort Belknap Agency and 535 at Fort Peck Agency.

Brief Timeline

  • Early: forced from Great Lakes area to Minnesota area by tribal warfare
  • 1658: living near Lake Superior they encountered non-Indians and began trading with them
  • 1800-1837: several Assiniboin bands moved into "Montana" and the American Fur company built Fort Union
  • 1836: Smallpox epidemic killed about 4,000
  • 1851: Treaty at Fort Laramie -- they promise not attack settlers traveling the Oregon Trail and are assigned land in western Montana.
  • 1855: Tribe referred to in treaty with the Blackfeet
  • 1866: The tribe agreed to move to Fort Buford, in "North Dakota"
  • 1870's: settled on reservations in the United States - Fort Belknap Reservation (with Gros Ventre Tribe) and Fort Peck Reservation (with Sioux Tribes) - and in Canada - tracts of land in Saskatchewan and Alberta (with Sioux, Cree and Chippewa)
  • 1873: A massacre of Assiniboin band lead by Little Soldier, at Cypress Hill, inititated the establishment of Northwest Mounted Police by Canada.
  • 1874: Fort Belknap was established for the Gros Ventre and Upper Assiniboin.
  • 1877: Treaty Seven is signed by the Blackfoot Confederacy and by the Stoney (Canadian) Assiniboin
  • 1877: Fort Peck (Montana) became the agency for the Lower Asasiniboin and the Yanktonai Nakota and Sisseton-Wahpeton (Dakota) Sioux
  • 1883-1884: In the winter living at Fort Peck, the rations failed to arrive and hundreds of Assiniboin perished due to starvation.
  • 1887-1934: General Allotment Act (1887) began land allotment; land allotment of Assiniboin territory discontinued in 1934.

Additional References to the History of the Tribe


Tribal Headquarters

Fort Belknap Indian Community
RR1, Box 66
101 Tribal Way
Harlem, MT 59526
Phone: (406) 353-2205
Fax: (406) 353-4541
Official Website:

Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux Tribes
PO Box 1027
501 Medicine Bear Road
Poplar, MT 59255
Phone: (406) 768-5155
Fax: (406) 768-5478
Official Website:


Agency Records

The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Assiniboin for the time periods indicated. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.

The agencies which had jurisdiction over a major portion of the Assiniboin in the United States were:

Upper Missouri Agency, 1819-1864
Fort Berthold Agency, 1864-1869
Fort Belknap Agency, 1873-present
Fort Peck Agency, 1874-present


The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census Rolls on many of the reservations from 1885 to 1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details about each person enumerated. For more information about these records, click here.

The following table lists the census rolls for the Assiniboin Indians:


Location of Original Records 

Post - 1885 Census

M595 RG 75 -- 692 Rolls

 Roll Number

FHL Film Number
Fort Belknap Agency 1885-1939 Seattle Rolls 126-31 576481-576486
Fort Peck Agency, 1885-1939 Seattle Rolls 151-60 576840-576849


There are several sets of correspondence between the supervising offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local offices -- agencies, subagencies, etc. The correspondence is often historical in nature, including reports of the conditions among local groups of Indians, hostilities, plans for building facilities, activities of traders or missionaries, etc. Occasionally, there will be names of individuals but little detail about them. For more information about American Indian correspondence, click here.

The following table lists some of the correspondence records relating to the Assiniboin Indians:

Agency Location of Original Records

Pre - 1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 75 -- 962 Rolls

Roll Number



First Film

Upper Missouri Agency 1824-66 Washington D.C. Rolls 883-888 -
Fort Berthold Agency, 1867-70 Washington D.C. Rolls 292-299 -


During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.

Treaties to which the Assiniboin Indians were a part were:

  • 1851 September 17, at Fort Laramie, with Sioux. The treaty establishes the territory of the Assiniboin Nation.
  • October 17, 1855, referred to in Blackfeet treaty

Tribal Office Records

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.

Vital Records

Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Record of Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Some vital records for the Assiniboin Indians include:

  • Fort Peck Agency, M595, Births and Deaths 1925-1932, FHL Film: 576847

Important Web Sites


  1. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  2. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  3. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.



  • Carlson, Paul H. The Plains Indians. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, c1998. FHL book 970.1 C197p
  • Denig, Edwin Thompson. Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri: Sioux, Arickaras, Assiniboines, Crees, Crows. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, c1981. The Civilization of American Indian Series:059. FHL book 970.1 D415f.
  • Lowe, Robert H. The Assiniboine. Washington [D.C.]: Microfilmed by the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1989. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 4 pt. 1. FHL film 1404269.


  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published