Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana

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Ancestral homeland: Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Canada


The Salish acquired horses in the 1700's, which made them a target of raiding parties of Blackfeet and other enemies.

The tribe assisted the Lewis and Clark Expedition with food and horses. The expedition was a catalyst for the fur trade which brought goods to make life easier, as well as diseases, alcohol and guns.

In the early 1840's one of their leaders had a "vision" of the "Blackrobes" who would come with spiritual teaching. The tribe was desirious to search out the "Blackrobes" and in 1840-1841 sent a group in search of them. At St. Joseph's Mission on the Potawatomi Reservation in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the group located Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, who left with them for the Bitterroot Valley, where he established the St. Mary's Mission. Later the Catholics also established schools.

The Salish, along with many of their Indian neighbors, were in attendance at the Hellgate Treaty in 1855. Over twenty-two million acres of land was ceded to the U.S.

In 1872 many were forced from Bitterroot Valley to the Jocko Reservation. The last group was removed in 1891 to the Flathead Reservation.

The year 1935 marks the formation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana.

The population of the tribe in 1930 was estimated to be 9,000. By 1990, its populations was 10,246 .

Brief Timeline

  • 1804-6: Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • 1840-1841: a group traveled to St. Joseph's Mission on the Potawatomi Reservation at Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the "Blackrobes" requesting they come and bring spiritual teaching. Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet left for the Bitterroot Valley, where he established the St. Mary's Mission
  • 1855: Hellgate Treaty: ceded over 22 million acres to the U.S.
  • 1864: Catholics established a boys and girls boarding school on the reservation
  • 1872: The Salish were forced from their homeland in the Bitterroot Valley to the Jocko Reservation (later the Flathead Reservation)
  • 1890: Ursuline nuns began a kindergarten which later grew into a grade school and then a high school.
  • 1891: forced removal of last few tribal members from the Bitterroot Valley to the Flathead Reservation
  • 1935: The Salish and Kootenai tribes of Montana joined to become The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
  • 1969: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation began prohibiting the hunting or killing of mountain sheep.
  • 1973: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes of the Flathead Reservation amended some land ordinances


These tribes are primarily associated with the Flathead Reservation in Montana. the Flathead Reservation was once the Jocko Reservation.

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

Tribal Headquarters

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
P. O. Box 278
Pablo, MT 59855
Phone: 406.675.2700
Fax: 406.675.2806

Enrolled Tribal Members

Approximately 7000 tribal members in 2009.[1]

Tribes That Are Part of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation

The Flathead Nation is a confederation of the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai and Pend d'Oreilles Tribes. The Bella Coola, Flathead, Kalispel, Kootenai, and Palouse are considered to be part of the larger Salish Tribe.


Agency Records

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Agency primarily responsible for this tribe is the Flathead Agency.

Land Records

Flathead Allotment Records, 1889 -- List of those signing consents for land transfer.

Montana Flathead Land Patents, 1908 -- Abstracts of names beginning A-D

Important Web Sites


  1. Montana Official State Travel Information Site, Flathead Reservation


  • 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