Salish Indians

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Indians of Montana > Salish Indians

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Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands:

Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.


Federally recognized

Linguistic Group

not yet researched

Cultural Group

not yet researched

Other Related Ethnic Groups

other tribes

Alternate Names and Spellings:


-- Brief History of the Tribe --

Brief Timeline

  • 1700s and 1800s: Living in Canada
  • 1837, 1845, 1857, 1869-70: Smallpox epidemics
  • Prior to 1850: moved west and south to the Rocky Mountains and the Missouri River areas
    They raided the camps of the Crow, Assiniboin, Cree, Kutenai, Kalispel (or Pend d'Oreille) and Flathead in search of horses
  • 1855: Treaty (Lame Bull's Treaty)
  • 1865: Treaty at Fort Sully involving the Blackfeet Band of Sioux, often mistaken for the Blackfeet Tribe
  • 1870: Colonel E. M. Baker attacked the Blackfeet winter camp on the Marias River in Montana, killing 173 men, women and children and taking more that 140 prisoners.
  • 1877: ceded land in Canada
  • 1880s: settled on reservations in the United States and Canada
  • 1886: ceded land
  • 1888: gathered to Blackfeet Reservation
  • 1895: ceded land
  • 1907-1911: land on the Blackfeet Reservation was allotted to individual members of the tribe
  • 1935: Adopted Constitution and By-Laws

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

Tribal Headquarters



The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Blackfeet 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 Salish in the United States were:

Census (a specific type of record kept by the BIA Agencies)

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 Blackfeet Indians:

Agency Location of Original Records

Post- 1885 Census
M595 RG 75
693 Rolls
Roll Number

Film Number

Blackfeet Agency, 1890-1939  National Archives in Washington D.C. Rolls 3-11 573849-573857


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 Blackfeet Indians:

BIA Field Office Location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence
M234, RG 75, 962 Rolls
Roll Number

Film Number

Upper Missouri Agency, 1824-1874 National Archives in Washington D.C. Rolls 883-888 1661613-1661618
Upper Platte, 1846-1870 National Archives in Washington D.C. Rolls 889-896 1661619-1661626
Blackfeet Agency, 1855-1869 National Archives in Washington D.C. Roll 30 1660760
Montana Superintendency, 1864-1880
National Archives in Washington D.C. and Kansas City Regional Archives of NARA Rolls 488-518 1661218-1661248

Some correspondence for the following field offices may be included in the records of those offices preserved in the research facilities indicated.

BIA Field Office Location of Original Records General Agency Records

Film Number

Cheyenne River/Standing Rock, 1862-1957 Washington D.C. and Kansas City Regional Archives of NARA
- -
Blackfeet Agency, 1873-1927 Washington D. C. and Denver Regional Archives of NARA
- -
Blackfeet Agency, 1875-1952 Washington D.C. and Seattle Regional Archives of NARA
- -


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 Blackfeet Indians were a part were:

  • September 17, 1851, referred to in treaty, at Fort Laramie
  •  1855 October 17,
  •  1865 October 19, at Fort Sully -- this treaty was with the Blackfeet band of Sioux Indians, not the Blackfeet Tribe. They are two different entities or groups.
  • April 29, 1868, at Fort Laramie

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 Blackfeet Indians include:

  • Blackfeet Agency, M595, Births and Deaths 1924-1932, FHL Film: 573855 and 573856; 1916-1938, FHL film: 573857

Important Web Sites


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


Blackfeet Tribe

  • DeMarce, Roxanne. Blackfeet Heritage, 1907-1908; Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Browning, Montana. Browning, Montana: Blackfeet Heritage Program, [1980]. FHL book 970.3 Si29b.
  • Gilham, Robert C. (comp.) Blackfeet Nation Family History: A Compilation of Records of Members of the Blackfeet Nation and Some Non-Indian Relatives. Riverton, Utah: R.C. Gilham, [199-?]. 4 volumes. (All on FH film 2056034)
Vol. 1 -- Joseph to Double Blaze, George
Vol. 2 -- Double Blaze, Hamilton to Little Dog, Maggie
Vol. 3 -- Little Dog, Mary to Running
Vol. 4 -- Running After Buffalo to Ziegler


  • 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 970.1 R259e; WorldCat 37475188; 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