A Project of the Idaho GenWeb

Traveling and Border Tribes of Idaho

Kalispel The Salish-speaking aboriginal Kalispel Indians, numbering about 3,000 souls, occupied a narrow region that extended 200 miles west from Montana's Flathead lake, through Idaho and into Washington State. The bountiful plateau territory, which included mountains carpeted with forests, and the river, furnished the tribe with plentiful fish, other wildlife and plants for their subsistence. They were fishers, hunters and diggers. Other tribes called the Kalispel "lake and river paddlers," or "camas people" (camas being "Indian bread," a starchy root).

A reservation for the Kalispel (without a treaty) was ultimately established by an executive order of President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. They were relegated to a relatively puny 4,600-acre parcel of mountainside and flood plain along the Pend Oreille River, which failed to sustain the tribe. In 1924, to promote farming, the federal government divided the reservation into 40-acre parcels that were allotted to tribal members. However, the hillside and floodplain land proved stubbornly resistant to cultivation.

Kutenai, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are comprised of the Bitterroot Salish, the Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai tribes. The Flathead Reservation of 1.317 million acres in northwest Montana is our home now but our ancestors lived in the territory now known as western Montana, parts of Idaho, British Columbia and Wyoming. This aboriginal territory exceeded 20 million acres at the time of the 1855 Hellgate Treaty.

Palouse, The Palus (pronounced /pe'lu:s/) are recognized in the Treaty of 1855 with the Yakamas (negotiated at the Walla Walla Council (1855)). A variant spelling is Palouse, which was the source of the name for the fertile prairie of Washington and Idaho.

The Palus tribe is one of twelve aboriginal tribes enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. A variant spelling is Palouse which was the source of the name for the fertile prairie of Washington and Idaho.

The people are one of the Sahaptin speaking groups of Native Americans living on the Columbia Plateau in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and North Central Idaho.

The people were expert horsemen and the term Appaloosa is probably a derivation of the term Palouse horse. Hundreds of tribal horses were slaughtered to cripple the tribe during the Indian Wars in the mid to late nineteenth century.

Pend d'Oreilles also known as the Kalispel, are a tribe of Native Americans who lived around Lake Pend Oreille, as well as the Pend Oreille River, and Priest Lake although some of them live spread throughout Montana and eastern Washington. The primary tribal range from roughly Plains, Montana, westward along the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho, and the Pend d'Oreille River in Eastern Washington and into British Columbia was given the name Kaniksu by the Kalispel peoples. The Kalispel are one of the three tribes of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.

The name Pend Oreille is of French origin, meaning "hangs from ears", which refers to the large shell earrings that these people wore. The main part of the reservation on which these Native Americans live is northwest of Newport, Washington, in central Pend Oreille County.


Salish (Flathead)

Snake,  The country inhabited by them is of such vast extent, and has been so imperfectly explored, that material for accurate classification of the Snake tribes is entirely wanting. Very interesting descriptions and anecdotes of these Indians are to be found in Colonel Fremont s notes of travel and explorations; in Mr. Schoolcraft's valuable compend of Indian historical and statistical information; and in the entertaining adventures of Captain Bonneville.

The whole region tenanted by the roving tribes who are included under the general title of Snakes, is thus laid down in Schoolcraft s above-mentioned publication: exclusive of those residing upon the Snake river, "they embrace all the territory of the Great South Pass, between the Mississippi valley and the waters of the Columbia, by which the land or caravan communication with Oregon and California is now, or is destined hereafter, to be maintained.

The Snake River is named for the Snake Indians, through whose country the greater part of the river flows. The Indians, in turn, were named "Snake" by their Plains neighbors to the east, possibly because they reputedly used snake heads painted on sticks to terrify their Plains enemies.

Spokane, A name applied to several small bodies of Salish on and near Spokane River, north east Washington. According to Gibbs the name was originally employed by the Skitswish to designate a band at the forks of the river, called also Smahoomenaish.

The Upper Spokan came under the influence of the Jesuit Fathers De Smet, Point, and their successors, about 1841, whith the result that that portion of the tribe is Catholic. Throughout the Yakimá war of 1856-8 the Spokan remained quiet, chiefly through the effort of the Catholic missionaries. In 1872 those of Washington, consituting the larger body, were gathered with other cognate tribes upon the Colville reservation, North-eastern Washington, where they now reside.

Those in Idaho are associated with the Coeur d'Aléne and are all Catholic. At Colville the Lower band is Protestant, while the Upper band, somewhat smaller in numbers, is Catholic. From perhaps 1200 souls a century ago they have declined (1911) to 600, of whom 96 are on the Coeur d'Aléne reservation. The religious centre for those of Colville is the mission of St. Francis Regis, at Ward, Washington, under Jesuit management. The centre for Coeur d'Aléne is the Jesuit mission of the Sacred Heart, at De Smet, Idaho. In language, primitive custom, and characteristics the Spokan are virtually identical with the Coeur d'Aléne and Kalispel Indians.

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