Flathead Indians

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 06:39, 29 March 2010 by Jbparker (talk | contribs) (added infobox)

Jump to: navigation, search

Indians of Montana > Flathead Indians

Alternate Names: Bitter Root Salish

{{#if: Kootenai|
1980 3,771 

Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands: Western Montana and parts of northern Idaho, British Columbia, and Wyoming

Flathead Reservation in Montana, formerly the Jocko Reservation


Federally recognized

Linguistic Group

not yet researched

Cultural Group

not yet researched

Other Related Ethnic Groups



The first recorded contact between the Flathead or Salish Tribe and non-Indian explorers occurred in 1806 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through what was later to become Montana.

After several requests were made made delegations from the tribe, the Catholics established a mission among the Flatheads in the Bitter Root Valley in the 1840s. That mission, called St. Mary's, closed in 1849, but another mission known as St. Ignatius was established in 1854.[1]

Although Victor, the head chief of the Flathead, signed the Hellgate Treaty in 1855, the Flathead Tribe was allowed to remain in Bitter Root Valley until further surveys were made to determine if there was a better place for a reservation for the tribe, rather than assigning them to the Jocko Reservation.[2]

In 1890, members of the Flathead Tribe were removed from the Bitter Root Valley to the Jocko Reservation, now known as the Flathead Reservation.[3]

The allotment of land to members of the Flathead Tribe was begun in 1904. Following that allotment, nearly 1/2 million acres passed out of tribal ownership as surplus land.

Brief Timeline

  • 1806: Lewis and Clark Expedition made contact with the tribe
  • 1840-1846: Jesuit missionary - Father Pierre Jean de Smet - lived in the area
  • 1841: St. Mary's Mission established by Catholics in Bitter Root Valley
  • 1854: St. Ignatius Mission established on the Jocko River
  • 1855: Hell Gate Treaty ceded land in Montana and Idaho
  • 1872: Ceded additional land
  • 1890-1891: Removed from Bitter Root Valley to Jocko Reservation
  • 1853: United States terminates its relationship with the sovereign nations of Flathead by the U.S. Congress under House Concurrent Resolution 108.
  • 1980: population of Flathead Reservation 3,771


The principle reservation occupied by the Flathead Indians is currently called the Flathead Reservation, formerly known as the Jocko Reservation, because of its location on the Jocko River in northern Montana.

The reservation includes land in Flathead, Lake, Missoula, and Sanders Counties in Montana

Additional References to the History of the Tribe and/or Band

Tribal Headquarters

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
42487 Complex Blvd.
PO Box 278
Pablo, MT 59855
Ph. 406-675-2700
Toll free 888-835-8766
Fax 406-675-2806
Email - info@cskt.org


Agency Records

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Agency primarily responsible for this tribe is the Flathead Agency. The records kept by this agency include such things as correspondence, census records, land records, etc.

Census Records

Agency Location of Original Records

Post-1885 Census M595 RG 75 Roll 693

 Roll Number


Film Number

Flathead Agency, 1875-1952 Seattle Rolls 107-16



Correspondence Records

Agency Location of  Original Records

Pre - 1880 Correspondence

M 234 RG 75 Rolls 962

Roll Number


Film Number

Montana Superintendency, 1864-1952 Washington D. C. Rolls 488-518 -

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

Removal Records

Those who signed consents to be removed from the Bitter Root Valley to the Jocko Reservation in 1890 are included in a list taken from the book entitled Flathead Indians of Bitter Root Valley. An abstract of the list is also available online.


  •  1855  October 17, Territory of Nebraska, Treaty with the Blackfeet 
  •  1855  July 16, at Hell Gate in Bitter Root Valley,Treaty with Flatheads Etc., 

Vital Records

  • Flathead Agency, M595, births and deaths, 1924-1934, FHL Film: 576469 and births and deaths, 1927-1937, FHL Film: 576471.  FHL Film: 576468 also includes supplemental rolls of the Flathead (Montana) Agency

Important Web Sites


  1. Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. Treaty of Hellgate, Treaty of July 16, 1855, 12 Stat. 975, Ratified March 8, 1859.
  3. Flathead Indians of Bitter Root Valley


  • 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