Wood Resources to reopen Colville Tribe’s plywood mill in Omak

Wood Resources has signed a 25-year lease with the Colville Tribe to reopen the Colville plywood mill in Omak and ultimately hire as many as 200 workers to operate the mill.

The agreement between the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation, the business arm of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, which owns the mill, and Wood Resources LLC, also includes a wood supply agreement for timber from tribal forest lands.

“The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and CTFC are excited to partner with Wood Resources to bring back jobs for the Tribes and the community,” said John Sirois, Chairman of the Business Council of the Colville Tribes. “This long term agreement will provide for sustainable mill operations and timber management in our forests, as well as needed employment opportunities for tribal members.”

As the mill has been shut down since 2009, it will require significant restorative maintenance and upgrades to become operational. Wood Resources expects to begin manufacturing veneer as soon as this summer.

“Wood Resources is delighted to partner with the Confederated Tribes to revive this enterprise, put people to work and help drive economic development in the area,” said Richard Yarbrough, Chairman of Wood Resources.

“Our agreement with Wood Resources is an important economic partnership for Colville Tribal Federal Corporation and bolsters an established labor pool and natural resource base,” said Ken Stanger, CTFC Board Chairman.

The Omak mill will initially produce softwood veneer for Northwest markets, as well as Douglas fir plywood for specialty and commodity applications.

Wood Resources operates the Olympic Panel Products plywood mill in Shelton, Wash., as well as plants in North and South Carolina. The company currently employs about 700 people at the three facilities.

The Colville tribes, the second-largest tribal organization in the state and the largest employer in Okanogan County, bought the mill in 2001 out of receivership of the prior owner, Quality Veneer & Lumber. The harshest decline in the construction industry in 50 years forced the difficult decision to close its operations in 2009. The unemployment rate in Okanogan County was at 10.6 percent in December of 2012.

Contact: Paul Queary, Strategies 360; 206.334.1483 for Wood Resources Contact: Todd Zeidler, Desautel Hege Communications; 509.444.2350 for CTFC

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Kinship Terminology Explained

The symbols, terms, and concepts used when talking about kinship relationships can be confusing to the layman. Here is a kinship terms glossary to help you out.

Genealogical Abbreviations:

B = Brother C = Child(ren) D = Daughter
F = Father GC = Grandchild(ren) GP = Grandparent(s)
P = Parent S = Son Z = Sister
W = Wife H = Husband SP = Spouse
LA = In-law SI = Sibling M = Mother
(m.s.) = male speaking (f.s.) = female speaking  



DT = Donald Tuzin (1976), A Glossary of Kinship Terms and Concepts, Unpublished ms.

ES = Ernest L. Schusky (1965) Manual for Kinship Analysis . New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

GK = Julius Gould & William L. Kolb, eds., (1964) A Dictionary of the Social Sciences. New York: The Free Press.

GPM = George Peter Murdock (1949) Social Structure New York: Macmillan.

LM = David Levinson & Martin Malone (1980) Toward Explaining Human Culture: A Critical Review of the Findings of Worldwide Cross-Cultural Research . New Haven, Conn: HRAF Press.

NG = Nelson Graburn, ed. (1971) Readings in kinship and social structure . New York: Harper and Row.

RF = Robin Fox (1967) Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective . Baltimore,Md.: Penguin.

RK = Roger Keesing (1975) Kin Groups and Social Structure . New York: Holt,Rinehart and Winston.

Address, Terms of: Kin terms used in speaking to a kinsman or kinswoman. ES:12

Adelphic Polyandry: “The marriage of a woman to two or more brothers. Syn. “Fraternal Polyandry” ES:72.

Affinity: “Relationship by marriage ties. May include the relationship between corporate groups linked by marriage between their members. A relative by marriage is an affine (RK:147; NG-12ff.; RF-35). “Whenever the connection between two relatives…includes one or more marital links, the two have no necessary biological relationship and are classed as affinal relative.” (GPM:95). Contra. “consanguinity”, “consanguine”. (Note: The relationship of husband-wife in this context is somewhat ambiguous–a matter of some dispute amongst anthropologists.)” DT

Agamy: “The lack of any rule in regard to marriage within or without of a group; it denotes absence of marriage regulations on the part of a social unit.” ES:72.

Agnatic:“Pertaining to the reckoning of relationship by male link(s) exclusively, regardless of sex of Ego and/or Alter. An agnate, then, is a person related by patrilineal descent (RK:147).” DT. “In Roman law agnati were kin who traced their relationship by descent through males only from a common ancestor, who were under the authority of a single paterfamilias, and who resided together. Agnati could be adopted. They included women, but no kin linked through a woman.” GK:18. Contra. “uterine.”

Alliance: In kinship theory, this refers to a view of society which emphasizes marital interactions (usually repetitive) between descent groups as a basis for social integration and group definition (RF-231ff.; NG232ff.)” DT. As Keesing puts it “a system whereby descent groups or other kin groups are linked by a rule of prescriptive or recurrent marriage so that the groups remain in an affinal relationship to one another across generations” (RK:147). Contra. “descent theory”.

Alter: “The person to whom a relationship is being indicated; thus, in English kinship terminology, “male Ego refers to his FB as “uncle” and Alter reciprocates with “nephew”. DT. Contra. “Ego”.

Amilateral: “Ambilateral is sometimes used in kinship studies to refer to non-unilineal systems in whic an individual may choose to align himself with either of his parental groups. R. Firth argues that “The admission to membershilp through descent from either males or females–or both conjoined–shows that the hapu is not a unilateral group of the strict type. It may be called in fact, an ambilateral group, since both parents are eligible for the purposes of kinship affiliation” (R. Firth, Economics of the New Zealand Maori, Wellington, N.Z.:R. E. Owen 1959, p.112).” GK:22.

Amitaclan: “A clan with patrilineal descent in which unmarried females reside with a paternal aunt and bring their husbands to the father’s sister’s home. It parallels the avuncuclan, but is only theoretical.” ES:72, GPM:71. An example of inventing kinship concepts which describe no known group.

Amitalocal Residence: “The norm whereby wives take their husbands to the residence of the bride’s father’s sister. It parallels avunculocal residence, but is only theoretical.” ES:72; GPM:71. Another example of a totally invented kinship concept that has never been found in any actual human society.

Amitate: “In the amitate a sister is superior to her brother in that the paternal aunt can dictate the matrimonial destinies of her brother’s children.” ES:72, GPM:71.

Apical Ancestor (Ancestress): The ancestor/ess from whom descent is traced (the “apex” of the triangle of descendants).

Asymmetrical Alliance: “In alliance theory, a marriage system involving indirect exchange. (Patrilateral alliance is considered by some theorists to be non-existent or impossible, so matrilateral alliance–marriage with MBD or a girl classed with her–is the form commonly referred to as asymmetrical.) (RK:147)” DT. Also called “asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage.” ES:72.

Avoidance Relationships: “A pattern of complete avoidance of speech and physical contact between relatives. Murdock (1949:273) suggests that such a technique is an aspect of sex regulation in societies where sexual prohibitions are not strongly internalized in enculturation.” ES:72

Avuncular: Pertaining to “uncle”. In kinship contexts this almost invariably refers to male Ego’s MB. Contra. “nepotic”.

Avunculate: “denotes the institutionalization of authority by the mother’s brother over the sister’s son and the latter being made the heir and companion of the former.” GK:47.

Avunculocal Residence: “Postmarital residence of a newlywed couple with husband’s mother’s brother. Some have argued that the terms “viri-avunculocal” or “avuncu-virilocal” are more precise.” (RK:147)

Bifurcate Collateral Terminology: “A system which differentiates the uncles and aunts both from parents and from each other.” ES:73.

Bifurcate Merging Terminology: “A system which groups the F and FB and the M and MZ; however, the MB and FZ are denoted by distinct terms.” ES:73.

Bilateral (kinship): “Kinship traced to relatives through both father and mother. Syn. “consanguineal kinship”. “(RK: 147)

“In kinship studies this term is used in several ways. (a) All kinship is said to be bilateral in the sense that, whatever the principle of descent, an individual has kinship ties to and through both parents. (b) Only some systems are said to be bilateral; these are the non-unilineal systems, in which kinship ties traced through both parents have, or may have, equal social weight. (c) In the context of cross-cousin marriage, bilateral is used a synonym for symmetrical; i.e., bilateral cross-cousin marriage is the marriage of either kin of cross-cousin.” GK:57.

Bilocal Residence: “A norm which permits a married couple to live with or near the parents of either spouse; a factor such as relative wealth of the two families is likely to determine where the couple will reside.” ES:73.

Blood Brother: “…a relation of alliance or consociation by which individuals not related by kinship acquire ties of pseudo-kinship, the rights and duties that compose the relationship being modeled on those of brotherhood.” GK:58.

Bridewealth (or Brideprice): “Tangible items of value transferred from the groom or groom’s group to the bride’s group, the prestation serving to validate the marriage union. Cf.

Brideservice, in which the groom contributes labor and/or services to the bride’s group for validatory purposes.” DT. Contra. “dowry”.

Caste: “refers to: (a) the form of social organization found in India based on relgious beliefs in the supremacy of the Brahman, rigid ranking according to birth, and restrictions on occupation and marriage; (b) one of the Indian hereditary groups within this social system; (c) any hereditary and exclusive class elsewhere (usually pejoratively with connotations of discrimination or unfair privilege.” GK:74.

Clan: A unilineal descent group or category whose members trace patrilineal descent (patriclan) or matrilineal descent (matriclan) from an apical ancestor/ess, but do not know the genealogical links that connect them to the apical ancestor/ess (RK:148).

In the common British anthropological sense, a descent group, usually consisting of several lineages, between which shared descent from an ancestor (or ancestress) is assumed but cannot actually be demonstrated (NG-164; RF 49).

Many American anthropologists, following Murdock (1949), regard a “clan” as the localized core of a dispersed unilineal descent group (i.e., a patri- or matri-sib) or non-unilineal descent group (i.e., a sept) (NG-204). An earlier, and now obsolete usage regarded the “clan” as a matrilineal descent group, as opposed to a patrilineal descent group, which was termed a “gens” (plur. gentes; adj. gentile) (NG-37). DT.

“Clan was used originally in anthropology to refer to Teutonic and Scottish society…Different authors have used the term to refer to various types of descent group.” GK:95

Classifactory System: A mode of kinship classification in which collateral kin are terminologically equated with lineal kin (e.g., FB = F, MZ = M, etc.) (RK: 148)

Cognate: A bilateral (consanguineal) kinsman or kinswoman.

Cognatic (Descent): Sense #1: A mode of descent reckoning where all descendants of an apical ancestor/ancestress through any combination of male or female links are included (preferred sense). Sense #2: Synonymous with “bilateral” or “consanguineal”. Syn. “bilateral kinship”. RK.

Collateral Kinsmen: “The siblings of lineal relatives (parents, grandparents) and their descendants.: RK:148. Contra. “Lineal Kinsmen”

Complementary Filiation: “The collection of rights, obligations, sentiments, etc. which are attached to the immediate line opposite that by which formal descent is reckoned. E.g., complementary filiation is matrilateral in a patrilineal society (RF-233; NG-87, 169).” DT. “In the work of Fortes, Goody and others the relationship between a person and his/her maternal uncle and his lineage (in a patrilineal descent system); or between person and his/her paternal aunt/uncle and their lineage (in a matrilineal descent system).” (RK:148). Contra. “Descent”

Compound Family: “Consists of three or more spouses and their children; it may be produced in monogamous societies by a second marriage giving rise to step-relationships.” ES:74.

Consanguinity: Relationship by blood (i.e., presumed biological) ties. A consanguine is a relative by birth (i.e., a “blood” relative), as distinguished from in-laws (“affines”) and steprelatives. (NG:12ff.; RF:33; RK:148). Contra. “affinity”, affine(s)”.

Corporate(ness): A property of formally constituted social groups which concerns their continuance beyond the life of any particular individual. That is, “the decease of individual members makes no difference to the collective existence of the aggregate body, and does not in any way affect its legal incidents, its faculties or liabilities” (NG:12). DT.

Corporate Group: “A social group whose members act as a legal individual in terms of collective rights to property, a common group name, collective responsibility, and so on.” (RK:148)

Cross-cousins: The children of opposite-sexed siblings; similarly, the offspring of one’s parents’ opposite-sexed siblings. E.g., MBC or FZC. Contra. “parallel-cousins” (RF 185; NG-240). DT.

Cross-Cousin Marriage: “In alliance theory (especially in its early versions), a rule or practice of marriage between father’s sister’s child and mother’s brother’s child (a man’s marriage with MBD is “matrilateral cross-cousin marriage”; a man’s marriage with FZD is “patrilateral cross-cousin marriage”)” RK:148.

Curvilinear Hypothesis: Proposed by Blumberg and Winch (1972), it “states that: (1) the independent family is the typical family type in small hunting and gathering societies and in large, industrialized societies; (2) the extended family is the typical family type in settled, agricultural societies. Thus, there is a curvilinear relationship between family type and societal complexity.” LM:87. See Rae L. Blumberg and Robert F. Winch (1972) “Societal Complexity and Familial Complexity: Evidence for the Curvilinear Hypothesis” American Journal of Sociology 77:898-920.

Crow Terminology: ” A mode of kinship classification usually but not always associated with matrilineal descent in which a line of father’s matrilineal kin are terminologically equated across generations (mirror image of Omaha terminology).” RK:148

Deme(pronounced “deem”): “An endogamous local group in the absence of unilinear descent, especially when we are regarding it as a kin group rather than as a community.” GPM:63 “A local group lacking unilineal descent.” ES:75.

Denotative Kinship Term: “A kinship term which applies only to relatives in a single kinship category as defined by generation, sex, and genealogical connection.

Derivative Kinship Term: “A term that is a compound of an elementary kin term and another sound or phrase, e.g., “sister-in-law” or “stepson”.” ES:75.

Descent: “A relationship defined by connection to an ancestor (or ancestress) through a culturally recognized sequence of parent-child links (from father to son to son’s son= patrilineal descent, from mother to daughter to daughter’s daughter = matrilineal descent” (RK:148). In other words descent is the tracing of relationships inter-generationally through real, putative, or fictive parent-child links. Various typologies of descent have been proposed


Keesing’s Typology of Descent:


Patrilineal Descent: (or agnatic) descent from an ancestor down through a series of male links (i.e., though the ancestor’s son, his son’s sons, his son’s sons’ sons, etc.)

Matrilineal Descent: (or uterine) descent from an ancestress down through a series of female links (through daughter, daughter’s daughter, etc.)

Cognatic Descent: descent from an ancestor or ancestress thorugh a series of links that can be male or female or any combination of the two.

Double Descent: a system whereby two sets of social groups or categories exist (for different purposes) in the same society, one based on patrilineal descent and the other on matrilineal descent (so a person belongs to his/her father’s patrilineal group and his/her mother’s matrilineal group).


Tuzin’s Typology of Descent:


Unilineal Descent: The principle whereby descent is traced either through the male line (“patrilineal”) or the female line (“matrilineal”), but not both (NG-163ff.; RF-97ff.)

Double Descent: The principle whereby descent is traced through the male line for certain prescribed purposes, and through the female line for other prescribed purposes; also called Double Unilineal Descent (NG-169; RF-131, 146).

Non-Unilineal Descent: The principle whereby descent is reckoned by means other than exclusively through the father and his male ancestors or the mother and her female ancestors (RF-147; NG-200ff).

Ambilineal Descent: The principle whereby descent is reckoned through male or female links without set order (NG-198).

Bilateral Descent: The principle whereby descent is traced equally through males (i.e., father) and females (i.e., mother). Also called Cognatic. English kinship embodies such a descent principle (NG-198; RF-146ff).

Note: Principles of descent often govern recruitment to social groups (e.g., Ego is admitted to membership in a patrilineage according to the principle of patrilineal descent), but these correspondences must be verified empirically.


Descent Group: “A kin group whose membership is based on a rule of descent. Appropriate descent status (patrilineal, matrilineal, or cognatic, depending on the society) entitles a person to be a member of the group.” (RK:148). A socially recognized group of persons, all of whom trace real or putative descent from a common ancestor (or ancestress) with parent-child links between every generation. In-marrying persons (“affines”) may or may not be assimilated to this group as formal members (RF-49; NG-1).

Descent Rule: “A descent principle culturally used to define eligibility for membership in a kin group” RK:148.

Descriptive Kinship Term: “A term that combines two or more elementary terms to denote a specific relative. “My brother’s wife” is a descriptive term while “sister-in-law” is not. A sister-in-law may be either WZ or BW. One must be careful to distinguish between descriptive terminology or systems on the one hand and descriptive terms on the other. Descriptive systems separate lineal from collateral relatives. Thus, “cousin” is a term in a descriptive system. However, the term “cousin” may be called a classifactory term because it includes several different types of relatives.” ES:75. See “kin class”, “kin type”, “kin term”.

Descriptive Terminology: “Sets off the direct line of a person’s descent and the immediate relatives of his own generation from all other individuals. Lineal relatives are all differentiated from collateral relatives.” ES:75.

Direct Exchange (échange restreint): “A system of alliance (prescriptive marriage) whereby kin groups exchange wives directly (so that wife-givers are the same as wife-takers).” RK:149.

Domestic Group: “A social group occupying or centered in a dwelling house, living (and usually eating) together, and characteristically exercising corporate control over family property.” RK:149.

Double Descent: “A system whereby two sets of social groups or categories exist (for different purposes) in the same society, one based on patrilineal descent and the other on matrilineal descent (so a person belongs to his/her father’s patrilineal group and his/her mother’s matrilineal group).” RK:149.

Dowry: Tangible items of value transferred from the bride’s group to the groom or groom’s group to validate the marriage union. Often this is more properly seen as the early bestowal of the girl’s inheritance, over which she may retain considerable control. Contra. “bridewealth”

Dravidian Terminology: “A mode of kinship reckoning whereby parallel and cross relatives (or “kin” and “affines”) are systematically distinguished; characteristically, but apparently not always, associated with a rule of symmetrical alliance (direct exchange), i.e., a two-section system.” RK:149.

Blackfeet religion and spirituality

The Blackfeet Creator is Na’pi (Old Man). This is the word used to indicate any old man, though its meaning is usually loosely given as white. An analysis of the word Na’pi, however, shows it to be compounded of the word Ni’nah (man), and the particle a’pi, which expresses a color and which is never used by itself, but always in combination with some other word.

The Blackfeet word for white is Ksik-si-num’ while a’pi, though also conveying the idea of whiteness, actually describes the tint seen in the early morning light when it first appears in the east. The dawn is not a pure white, but has a faint cast of yellow. Na’pi, therefore, would seem to mean ‘dawn-light-color-man,’ or ‘man-yellowish-white.’ This is also the color of many old men’s hair.

Buy Blackfeet HatSome say that Napi and the Sun are not the same thing, rather Napi was the precursor to the Sun and made the Sun, as well as the rest of our world.

The character of Old Man, as depicted in the stories told of him by the Blackfeet tribes, is a curious mixture of opposite attributes. In the serious tales, such as those of the creation, he is spoken of respectfully, and there is no hint of the impish qualities which characterize him in other stories, in which he is powerful, but also at times impotent; full of all wisdom, yet at times so helpless that he has to ask aid from the animals.

Sometimes he sympathizes with the people, and at others, out of pure spitefulness, he plays them malicious tricks that are worthy of a demon. He is a combination of strength, weakness, wisdom, folly, childishness, and malice.       Under various names Old Man is known to the Cree, Chippeway, and other Algonquin, and many of the stories that are current among the Blackfeet are told of him among those tribes.

Old Man can never die. Long ago he left the Blackfeet and went away to the West, disappearing in the mountains. Before his departure he told them that he would always take care of them, and some day would return. Even now, many of the old people believe that he spoke the truth, and that some day he will come back, and will bring with him the buffalo, which they believe the white men have hidden. It is sometimes said, however, that when he left them he told them also that, when he returned, he would find them changed a different people and living in a different way from that which they practiced when he went away. Sometimes, also, it is said that when he disappeared he went to the East.      

It is generally believed that Old Man is no longer the principal god of the Blackfeet, that the Sun has taken his place. There is some reason to suspect, however, that the Sun and Old Man are one, that N[=a]t[=o]s’ is only another name for Na’pi, for I have been told by two or three old men that “the Sun is the person whom we call Old Man.” However this may be, it is certain that Na’pi even if he no longer occupies the chief place in the Blackfoot religious system is still reverenced, and is still addressed in prayer. Now, however, every good thing, success in war, in the chase, health, long life, all happiness, come by the special favor of the Sun.      

The Sun is a man, the supreme chief of the world. The flat, circular earth in fact is his home, the floor of his lodge, and the over-arching sky is its covering. The moon, K[=o]-k[=o]-mik’-[=e]-[)i]s, night light, is the Sun’s wife. The pair have had a number of children, all but one of whom were killed by pelicans. The survivor is the morning star, A-pi-su-ahts, the early riser.       

In attributes the Sun is very unlike Old Man. He is a beneficent person, of great wisdom and kindness, good to those who do right. As a special means of obtaining his favor, sacrifices must be made. These are often presents of clothing, fine robes, or furs, and in extreme cases, when the prayer is for life itself, the offering of a finger, or still dearer a lock of hair.

Some of the Blackfeet now say that originally there was a great womb, in which were conceived the progenitors of all animals now on earth. Among these was Old Man. As the time for their birth drew near, the animals used to quarrel as to which should be the first to be born, and one day, in a fierce struggle about this, the womb burst, and Old Man jumped first to the ground. For this reason, he named all the animals Nis-kum’-iks, Young Brothers; and they, because he was the first-born, called him Old Man.  

There are several different accounts of the creation of the people by Old Man. One is that he married a female dog, and that their progeny were the first people. Others, and the ones most often told,  have been given in the Old Man stories already related above. More can be found under the Legends / Oral stories category. 
If a white buffalo was killed, the robe was always given to the Sun. It belonged to him. Of the buffalo, the tongue regarded as the greatest delicacy of the whole animal was especially sacred to the Sun. The sufferings undergone by men in the Medicine Lodge each year were sacrifices to the Sun. This torture was an actual penance, like the sitting for years on top of a pillar, the wearing of a hair shirt, or fasting in Lent. It was undergone for no other purpose than that of pleasing God as a propitiation or in fulfillment of vows made to him.

The Blackfeet make daily prayers to the Sun and to Old Man, and nothing of importance is undertaken without asking for divine assistance. 
Just as the priests of Baal slashed themselves with knives to induce their god to help them, so, and for the same reason, the Blackfoot men surged on and tore out the ropes tied to their skins in a sacred ceremony called the Sun Dance.

It is merely the carrying out of a religious idea that is as old as history and as widespread as the globe, and is closely akin to the motive which today, in our own centers of enlightened civilization, prompts acts of self-denial and penance by many thousands of intelligent cultivated people. And yet we are horrified at hearing described the tortures of the Medicine Lodge.

The most important religious occasion of the year is the ceremony of the Medicine Lodge. This is a sacrifice, which, among the Blackfeet, is offered invariably by women.    
Besides the Sun and Old Man, the Blackfoot religious system includes a number of minor deities or rather natural qualities and forces, which are personified and given shape. These are included in the general terms Above Persons, Ground Persons, and Under Water Persons.

Of the former class, Thunder is one of the most important, and is worshipped as is elsewhere shown. He brings the rain. He is represented sometimes as a bird, or, more vaguely, as in one of the stories, merely as a fearful person.

Wind Maker is an example of an Under Water Person, and it is related that he has been seen, and his form is described. It is believed by some that he lives under the water at the head of the Upper St. Mary’s Lake. Those who believe this say that when he wants the wind to blow, he makes the waves roll, and that these cause the wind to blow. 

Presents are sometimes thrown into the Missouri River, though these are not offerings made directly to the river, but are given to the Under Water People, who live in it.
The Ground Man is another below person. He lives under the ground, and perhaps typifies the power of the earth, which is highly respected by all Indians of the west. The Cheyennes also have a Ground Man whom they call The Lower One, or Below Person (Pun’-[)o]-ts[)i]-hyo).

The cold and snow are brought by Cold Maker (Ai’-so-yim-stan). He is a man, white in color, with white hair, and clad in white apparel, who rides on a white horse. He brings the storm with him. They pray to him to bring, or not to bring, the storm.      

Some Piegan, if they wish to travel on a certain day, have the power of insuring good weather on that day. It is supposed that they do this by singing a powerful song. Some of the enemy can cause bad weather, when they want to steal into the camp.      

People who belonged to the Sin’-o-pah band of the I-kun-uh’-kah-tsi, if they were at war in summer and wanted a storm to come up, would take some dirt and water and rub it on the kit-fox skin, and this would cause a rainstorm to come up. In winter, snow and dirt would be rubbed on the skin and this would bring up a snowstorm.
Many of the animals are regarded as typifying some form of wisdom or craft. They are not gods, yet they have power, which, perhaps, is given them by the Sun or by Old Man. Examples of Blackfeet animal powers are shown in some of the stories.

Certain places and inanimate objects are also greatly reverenced by the Blackfeet, and presents are made to these Blackfeet sacred places.

Before the coming of the whites, the Blackfeet used to smoke the leaves of a plant which they call na-wuh’-to-ski, and which is said to have been received long, long ago from a medicine beaver. It was used unmixed with any other plant. The story of how this came to the tribe is told elsewhere.

The Blackfeet are firm believers in dreams. These, they say, are sent by the Sun to enable us to look ahead, to tell what is going to happen. A dream, especially if it is a strong one, that is, if the dream is very clear and vivid, is almost always obeyed.

As dreams start them on the war path, so, if a dream threatening bad luck comes to a member of a war party, even if in the enemy’s country and just about to make an attack on a camp, the party is likely to turn about and go home without making any hostile demonstrations. The animal or object which appears to the boy, or man, who is trying to dream for power, is, as has been said, regarded thereafter as his secret helper, his medicine, and is usually called his dream (Nits-o’-kan).       


Blackfeet and Blackfoot kinship is traced from the male line

The three Canadian Blackfoot bands and the American Blackfeet acknowledge a blood relationship with each other, and, while distinct, still consider themselves a nation. There are really only three Blackfoot bands. Those caught on the American side when the US – Canadian border was drawn became a separate tribe only because they came under US jurisdiction and the US Government mispelled their name. Collectively, they make up the Blackfoot Nation.

Buy Blackfeet HatThe Blackfoot / Blackfeet tribes are subdivided into gentes, a gens being a body of consanguineal kindred (blood relatives) in the male line. It is noteworthy that the Blackfeet, although Algonquins, have this system of subdivision, and it may be that among them the gentes are of comparatively recent date. No special duties are assigned to any one gens, nor has any gens, so far as I know, any special “medicine” or “totem.”

Each gens takes its name from some peculiarity or habit it is supposed to possess. It will also be noticed that each band has a few gentes common to one or both of the other bands. This is caused by persons leaving their own tribe to live with another one, but, instead of uniting with one of the gens of the adopted tribe, they have preserved the name of their ancestral gens for themselves and their descendants.

Chart of the gentes of each Blackfeet / Blackfoot tribe.


Blackfeet Gentes (Sik’-si-kau)

Puh-ksi-nah’-mah-yiks Flat Bows
Mo-tah’-tos-iks Many Medicines
Siks-in’-o-kaks Black Elks
E’-mi-tah-pahk-sai-yiks Dogs Naked
Sa’-yiks Liars
Ai-sik’-stuk-iks Biters
Tsin-ik-tsis’-tso-yiks Early Finished Eating
Ap’-i-kai-yiks Skunks

Bloods Gentes (Kai’-nah)

Siksin’-o-kaks Black Elks
Ah-kwo’-nis-tsists Many Lodge Poles
Ap-ut’-o-si’kai-nah North Bloods
Is-ts’-kai-nah Woods Bloods
In-uhk!-so-yi-stam-iks Long Tail Lodge Poles
Nit’-ik-skiks Lone Fighters
Siks-ah’-pun-iks Blackblood
Ah-kaik’-sum-iks I-sis’-o-kas-im-iks Hair Shirts
Ak-kai’-po-kaks Many Children
Sak-si-nah’-mah-yiks Short Bows
Ap’-i-kai-yiks Skunks
Ahk-o’-tash-iks Many Horses

Piegans Gentes (Pi-kun’-i)

Ah’-pai-tup-iks Blood People
Ah-kai-yi-ko-ka’-kin-iks White Breasts
Ki’yis Dried Meat
Sik-ut’-si-pum-aiks Black Patched Moccasins
Sik-o-pok’-si-maiks Blackfat Roasters
Tsin-ik-sis’-tso-yiks Early Finished Eating
Kut’-ai-im-iks They Don’t Laugh
I’-pok-si-maiks Fat Roasters
Sik’-o-kit-sim-iks Black Doors
Ni-taw’-yiks Lone Eaters
Ap’-i-kai-yiks Skunks
Mi-ah-wah’-pit-siks Seldom Lonesome
Nit’-ak-os-kit-si-pup-iks Obstinate
Nit’-ik-skiks Lone Fighters
I-nuks’-iks Small Robes
Mi-aw’-kin-ai-yiks Big Topknots
Esk’-sin-ai-tup-iks Worm People
I-nuk-si’-kah-ko-pwa-iks Small Brittle Fat
Kah’-mi-taiks Buffalo Dung
Kut-ai-sot’-si No Parfleche
Ni-tot’-si-ksis-stan-iks Kill Close By
Mo-twai’-naiks All Chiefs
Mo-kum’-iks Red Round Robes
Mo-tah’-tos-iks Many Medicines

Low Man on the Totem Pole

The “low man” on a real totem pole was actually the most important man in the tribe.

Chippewa and Cree Tribes and Rocky’s Boy Reservation Timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. This is a brief timeline of the Chippewa and Cree Tribes and the Rocky’s Boy Reservation.

Time Immemorial –
“This is an old, old story about the Crees (Ne-I-yah-wahk). A long time ago the Indians came from far back east (Sah-kahs-te-nok)… The Indians came from the East not from the West (Pah-ki-si-motahk). This wasn’t very fast. I don’t know how many years it took for the Indians to move West.” (Joe Small, Government. Ethnic Heritage Studies Program: Plains Indians, Cheyenne-Cree-Crow-Lakota Sioux. Bozeman,MT: Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education, College of Education, Montana State University, 1982. P. 4)

1851 –Treaty with the Red Lake and Pembina Chippewa included a land session on both sides of the Red River.

1855 –Treaty negotiated with the Mississippi, Pillager, and Lake Winnibigoshish bands of Chippewa Indians. The Tribes ceded a portion of their aboriginal lands in the Territory of Minnesota, and reserved lands for each tribe. The treaty contained a provision for allotment and annuities.

1863 –Treaty with the Mississippi, Pillager, and Lake Winnibigoshish bands of Chippewa Indians ceded a significant portion of their lands as designated in the 1855 treaty.

1887 –The Montana Territorial Legislature appropriated $500 for relief for the Cree camped on the Sun River.

1893 –Crees camped at Silver Bow suffered an outbreak of Scarlet Fever.

1894 –Despite the policy criminalizing the spiritual traditions and ceremonies of tribes, the Cree held a Sundance.

1896 –$5,000 was appropriated by Congress to fund the deportation of the Cree from Montana.

1896 –Buffalo Coat filed a petition with the court, saying that he and the other Cree that were detained for deportation were not afforded due process of the law. Buffalo Coat claimed U.S. residency since 1885 and noted the number of children in their group that had been born in the U.S. A judge determined that the state court did not have authority to give a ruling as the deportation was through act of Congress. The deportation to Canada went ahead.

1909 –Rocky Boy’s band ordered to the Blackfeet Reservation. 11,000 acres of 80-acre parcels were set-aside for them.

1912 –Fred Baker searched for a permanent settlement for Rocky Boy’s band and other landless Indians. Fort Assiniboine by the Bear Paw Mountains was offered as a possibility.

1914 –Frank Bird Linderman wrote letters to influence addressing the landless Indian issue.

1915 –A survey was done of Fort Assiniboine to determine its suitability for a reservation.

1916 –Chief Rocky Boy died April 18.

1916 –September 7 – Congressional Act designated a tract of land as a refuge for the “homeless and wandering Indians.” The land included part of the abandoned Fort Assiniboine Military Reserve. The original bill was to include four townships. Within this land base there were 21 tillable sections, 80 grazing sections and 12 timbered sections. Unfortunately the bill was approved with one amendment – the removal of one township. This land included the lower valley of Beaver Creek that contained the tillable acres. The refuge ended up totaling approximately 56,035 acres. More land was added later during 1934 – 1946 almost doubling the size of the reservation, now totaling 107,613 acres. The reservation was named after Chief Rocky Boy as an honor to their departed chief.

1916 –The first agency school was built.

1917- 1920 –A drought ended reservation gardening and eliminates most reservation jobs.

1925 –A health survey revealed 23 of 65 children attending school had advanced trachoma; nine had evidence of TB; and all showed signs of malnutrition.Of the adult population, 20 percent had TB. Sangrey Day School was constructed. Serves grades K-5.

1930 –Haystack Day School was established.

1931 –Parker Day School was constructed. These latter schools served the tribal member populations moving away from the agency out to the reservation districts. Sometimes the schools were empty as it was hard to keep teachers employed. Housing was scarce and conditions were challenging. Charles Gopher, born in 1933, remembered attending Parker Day School. In addition to formal schooling, one of his memories was that of the children being gathered together at a home to learn songs and cultural knowledge from elders such as Young boy, Chief Goes Out, and Well Off Man.

1931 –The Interior Department encouraged mining on the reservation as a twenty- year lease was granted to the Bear Paw Mining and Milling Company of Havre to mine gold, lead, silver, copper, and vermiculite. The Bureau of Indian Affairs limited tribal royalties to 7.5 percent. The Tribe derived no income from this arrangement and in fact, the company failed to pay rents and provide safe working conditions.

1933 –Through the “New Deal” programs, several government projects accomplished road building, construction of an irrigation ditch, Bonneau Dam, and some house construction. Houses were built on “assignments”. At this time a house could be constructed for $500.

1934 –With a vote of 172 for and 7 against, the Rocky Boy Tribes voted to organize under the Indian Reorganization Act.

1935 –35,000 acres of land adjacent to the Rocky Boy Reservation was purchased and put in trust for the Chippewa, Cree and other Indians. It became unclear just whom this land was purchased for. There were still landless Indians in the state at this time. Rather than set up two reservations, it was decided to make the 35,000 acres part of the Rocky Boy Reservations, with the tribes’ adoption of 25 additional families.

1936 –Dr. Henry Roe Cloud conducted a census of landless Indians that totals 550 families representing 3,000 landless Indians eligible for adoption. Eligibility required an Indian blood quantum of one-half or more.

1936 –The worst drought in the history of the state forced the tribe to sell the 350 cattle they were able to save.

1938 –The adoption of non-ward Indians.

1944 –Trusting the promise of Havre, Hill County, and the state to help the Rocky Boy Tribes with their land acquisition program, the Chippewa-Cree Tribal council gave up their claim to Beaver Creek Park. The tribe never received the support promised.

1948 – 1949 –Record low temperatures required emergency airlifts of hay, food and clothing to keep people and cattle alive.

1949 –The Bureau of Indian Affairs and Rocky Boy Business Committee worked to get a bill introduced for economic support for the reservation. Funding was requested in the form of low interest loans. The bill died without any congressional action.

1970 –The Rocky Boy’s Reservation’s petition for their own school district was finally approved. Tribal members testified and gave evidence as to the need for a reservation school district. Citing a 12 percent Indian student graduation rate in Havre High School, as well as other incidents of discrimination, a strong case was made for a separate reservation school district.

1979 –Rocky Boy Alternative High School opened to meet the needs of 32 students who had dropped out of the public school system.

1984 –A Tribal Ordinance was passed, creating the Charter for Stone Child College.

1987 –The Rocky Boy Tribal High School was built and the tribes petitioned to create a new public high school district. The tribes eventually appealed to State Superintendent Nancy Keenan and won, making their school public school.




Northern Cheyenne Tribe Timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented.This is a brief timeline of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and the Norther Cheyenne Reservation.

Time Immemorial Creation –How the Earth (HO’E) was Made
“Long, long ago, before there were people, water was everywhere. Ma’heo’o, the Creator, was floating on the water. All of the water birds were swimming nearby – the ducks, geese, swans, and other birds that swim. Ma’heo’o called to them and asked them to bring him some earth….”

Traditional Life & Homelands –
The Cheyenne had a fishing economy while they lived around Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes

1600s –Moving from Cheyenne homelands southwest to Minnesota, the Cheyenne developed permanent earth lodge villages and began an agricultural economy, planting corn and other crops.

1680 –The Cheyenne traveled 300 miles to La Salle’s Fort to try and secure guns from French traders.

1700 –The Cheyenne moved northwest to the Sheyenne River in North Dakota, and continued to grow corn, beans, and squash, but also began hunting buffalo.

1750 –The Cheyenne acquired horses and became seasonally nomadic and began to use buffalo hide tipis.

1750 – 1790 –The Cheyenne migrated to the Missouri River country. The Tsitsistas met the So’taeo’o in the Missouri River country. Cheyenne developed a friendship with Arikaras and Mandans. Moved to the west side of the Missouri, and built another earth lodge village near Porcupine Creek (present-day Fort Yates. North Dakota.)

1780 –The Cheyenne moved to the game lands of the Black Hills. Here they allied with the Arapaho. This period marked the beginning of life on the Plains as hunters and followers of the buffalo.

1770-1790Conflict with the Chippewa. The Chippewa destroyed the Cheyenne village on the Sheyenne River. In 1799, the Chippewa Chief related this event to David Thompson.

1819 –Cheyenne united with the Oglala against the Crow.

1825 –Friendship Treaty. This treaty was a pledge of peace between the Cheyenne and the United States.

1849 –Cholera epidemic among the Cheyenn.e

1851 –First Treaty at Fort Laramie. Cheyenne, Arapaho, Oglala, Brule Sioux, Crow, Shoshone, Assiniboines, Gros Ventre, Mandans, Arikaras and Minnitarees – 10,000 Indians were at the treaty negotiations. Cheyenne and Arapaho territory was established, spanning lands in Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas. Two years before the Fort Laramie Treaty, Commissioner of Indian Affairs William Medill suggested offering compensation to the Plains Tribes in recognition of the destruction of the buffalo. “ Under these circumstances, whatever may be the nature and extent of their title to the lands, I think it would be sound policy to make them some annual compensation for the right of way through the county, and in consideration of the destruction of the buffalo therein.” (Prucha, Francis Paul. American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly. University ofCalifornia Press, 1997. p. 237)

1856 –Platte Bridge Incident. After a false accusation of horse stealing was made against a party of Cheyennes, one of the Cheyenne was shot and killed, another captured and a third wounded. The horses in question actually belonged to Two Tails, who was later to become the famed Chief Little Wolf.

1861 –Treaty of Fort Wise. Six leaders of the Southern Cheyenne and four Arapaho bands signed the Fort Wise treaty, establishing a reservation in Colorado. Many Cheyenne opposed the treaty.

1864 –Sand Creek Massacre. Colonel Chivington and 700 Colorado Volunteers attacked a camp of Southern Cheyennes and a small number of Arapahoes; two-thirds of the camp were women and children. 137 people, mostly Southern Cheyennes were brutally massacred. Major E. W. Wynkoop investigated the “incident,”interviewing the Volunteer soldiers. This statement was part of his report:“The affidavits which become a portion of this report will show more particularly than I can state the full particulars of that massacre. Every one of whom I have spoken to, either officers or soldier, agree in the relation that the most fearful atrocities were committed that ever was heard of. Women and children were killed and scalped, children shot at their mothers’ breasts… Numerous eye-witnesses have described scenes to me coming under the eye of Colonel Chivington of the most disgusting and horrible character.”(United States War Dept. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I Volume XLI, Part I, pp. 959-962. U.S. Government Printing Office)

1865 –1,000 Cheyenne warriors struck the town of Julesburg. The ensuing raids by the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho were in response to the Sand Creek Massacre.

1865 –Powder River Expedition – $40 million dollar failure. The Powder River Expedition was intended to crush the “hostile” Northern Plains tribes – in particular, the Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapaho. Inexperience, poor equipment, and little knowledge of the territory (one group got lost in the badlands) all contributed to a failed effort.

1865 –Treaty with the Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho, made at the Little Arkansas River established a new reservation spanning the borders of Kansas and Oklahoma. Article 6 acknowledged the grievous violence committed against the Cheyenne at Sand Creek and made an attempt at reparations.

1868 –The Fort Laramie Treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation in South Dakota that includes the sacred Black Hills. Article 16 describes unceded Indian Territory: “The United States hereby agrees and stipulates that the country north of the North Platte River and east of the summits of the Big Horn Mountains shall beheld and considered to be unceded Indian territory, and also stipulates and agrees that no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same…” This “unceded Indian territory” was land occupied by the Northern Cheyenne. Treaty stipulations included “undisturbed travel” for settlers and “withdrawal of opposition to the construction of the railroads now being built on the plains.” (Article 11)

1875 –Gold discovered in Black Hills. An attempt was made to purchase the Black Hills and then later the mineral rights. Tribes had no intention of selling the land or the minerals.

1875 –Indian agents were directed to order off-reservation Indians to report to their agencies. This included many Northern Cheyenne. When only a few complied, the matter was turned over to the military and the course was set for violent conflict.

1876 –Where the Girl Saved Her Brother – Battle of the Rosebud. 1,300 soldiers under General Crook moved up the Bozeman Trail to Rosebud Creek, meeting about the same number of Cheyenne and Hunkpapa (a Lakota band.) The Cheyenne warrior, Comes in Sight, had his horse shot out from under him and was about to be killed when his sister, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, rode to him, under fire, and saved him. Eleven Warriors were killed in the battle and five wounded. The cavalry suffered 57 killed and wounded.

1876 –Battle of the Little Big Horn. The famed battle that took place nine days after the Battle of the Rosebud. Custer made the ill-fated decision to divide his regiment of 600 men into four battalions. Custer and 264 of his men were killed.

1876 –The Cheyenne were pursued by cavalry during the winter months.

1876 –Many Cheyenne were forced to move to Forts and agencies.

1877 –Nine hundred and seventy-two Cheyenne were moved from Red Cloud’s Agency south to Oklahoma to live with Southern Cheyenne. After arrival, many people contracted malaria.

1878 –The poor conditions of the Cheyenne in Oklahoma resulted in Northern Cheyenne leaders Morning Star, Little Wolf, Wild Hog and Old Crow making the decision to move their people north. Two hundred and ninetyseven Cheyenne began the march north. The group split into two bands, one led by Little Wolf and the other by Morning Star. Morning Star’s band got caught and sent to Fort Robinson in Nebraska.

1879 –Fort Robinson Outbreak. In an effort to force the Cheyenne to agree to move back to Oklahoma, the soldiers deprived them of food, water, and heat. People were scraping ice off of the windows to get moisture. In a desperate attempt to escape, 61 of the 149 imprisoned Cheyenne were killed. During their return to their Tongue River country, Little Wolf’s band met with Cheyenne and Sioux scouts traveling with Lieutenant W. P. Clark, and agreed to go to Fort Keogh.

1880 –Due to overcrowding of Sioux and Cheyenne at Fort Keogh, Colonel Nelson Miles allowed Cheyenne families to settle along the Tongue River and encouraged the Cheyenne to homestead their lands.

1882 –Cheyenne families remaining at Fort Keogh moved south to the Rosebud and Muddy Creeks, building houses and planting crops.

1884 –Executive Order created the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeast Montana on the Tongue River.

1884 –Ursuline nuns arrived and set up a mission.

1889 –Bureau of Indian Affairs began a 30-year suppression of the Northern Cheyenne Sun Dance.

1890 –The Bureau of Indian Affairs opposed General Miles’ recommendation to move the White River Cheyenne to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. Despite the Bureau’s opposition, the White River Cheyenne were united with their people on their own reservation. The Cheyenne reservation population totaled around 1200.

1890 –The last Northern Cheyenne engagement with the US Cavalry. After being accused of killing a white man, Head Chief and Young Mule faced their accusers in a traditional manner of bravery and were killed.

1904 –Boarding school at Busby was built.

1918 –Spanish influenza outbreak on the reservation

1919 –In order to increase a tribal cattle herd, the Bureau of Indian Affairs implemented a plan to reduce the Cheyenne horse herd, numbering 15,000. 100 horses a month were killed, giving the owner $6.55 per hide.

1924 –The Bureau of Indian Affairs discontinued the tribal cattle herd that was a dismal failure under its management.

1926 –Northern Cheyenne tribal members voted in favor of allotting their reservation lands.

1929 –After the Bureau’s intentional slaughter, only 3,000 horses were left on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

1930-1932 –All 1,457 Northern Cheyenne enrolled tribal members received an allotment of 160 acres.

1936 –The Northern Cheyenne approved a tribal constitution under the Indian Reorganization Act.

1950 –During the winter, 50 children and older people died during an epidemic of German measles.

1963 –Northern Cheyenne received $4,200,000 settlement in the Court of Claims for lands taken from them by violation of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties.

1966, 1969, 1971 –The Northern Cheyenne gave three coal permit sales. This action resulted in over 56 percent of the reservation being leased to energy companies and speculators.

1972 –The Northern Cheyenne were offered millions of dollars from Consolidation Coal to build four plants to gasify Cheyenne coal. The plants were said to be needed during the country’s national “Energy Crisis.” Included with the offer was a much needed $1.5 million health center. Cultural leader Ted Rising Sun responded “I think I would rather be poor in my own country, with my own people, with our way of life than be rich in a torn-up land where I am outnumbered 10 to one by strangers.”

1973 –The Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council voted to cancel all the permits and leases.

1974 –Interior Secretary Morton refused to cancel the leases and instead placed them on indefinite hold.

1976 –Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Hollowbreast et al. A provision in the 1926 Northern Cheyenne Allotment Act would have conveyed mineral rights to allottees and their heirs after 50 years. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe took the case to court to determine if the Act had indeed given the allottees vested rights in the mineral rights of their allotments. After a decision and a reversal, the case went to the Supreme Court. It was determined that the coal and mineral rights were “reserved for the benefit of the tribe.”

1976 –The Northern Cheyenne opposed the expansion at Colstrip, based on recent regulations in the Clean Air Act. The courts agreed with the Northern Cheyenne and stated that the tribe’s Class I Air Standards would be applied to the new generators at Colstrip. Engineers had designed generator 3 & 4 for Class II standards. The EPA shut down construction for three years. The company was forced to install better pollution control equipment. Air monitoring stations are set up on the reservation and monitored by tribal employees.

1979 –Chief Dull Knife College was established at Lame Deer, Montana.

1980 –A Congressional act canceled the coal leases and permits.

1990 –William Tall Bull, Northern Cheyenne elder, helped Senator Melcher write the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act.

1993 –The Northern Cheyenne Tribe repatriated the human remains of 26 relatives. Nineteen were returned for burial home from the Smithsonian Institution. Seven were men, women and children of Chief Morning Star’s band that had been killed in the Fort Robinson massacre in 1879.

2000 –President Clinton signed the Sand Creek National Historic Site Establishment Act, setting aside 12,000macres in Colorado.

2008 –The Northern Cheyenne successfully petitioned to have the Rosebud Battle Field site and the Wolf Mountain Battle site listed as National Historic Landmarks.




Sioux & Assiniboine Tribes and Fort Peck Reservation Timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. This is a brief Souix and Assiniboine Tribes and Fort Peck Reservation Timeline.


Time Immemorial Creation –Western Siouan-speaking tribal groups were located west of Lake Michigan, inhabiting a region including present-day southern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and northern Illinois.

1600s –Assiniboines lived in northwest Ontario, Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta. (Northern and Southern Assiniboines). The Assiniboine established trade with the French and British. Assiniboine were pressured from both Chippewa and Cree. Cree had already secured weapons from traders. Assiniboine allied and intermarried with the Cree. Cree and Assiniboine pressed militarily against the Dakotas (Sioux).

1640 –References to Sioux Tribes depicted them as two groups the “Sioux of the East” and the “Sioux of the West,” being separated by the upper Mississippi River in Minnesota. The four tribes of the Sioux of the East became known as the Dakota proper, or Santee Sioux. The four tribes were Mdewakanton, Wahpekute, Sisseton, and Wahpeton. Twelve villages were identified as “Sioux of the West.” Yanktons, Yanktonais and Ti’tu’wa.

1720-1730 –Dakota secured trade with the French and moved aggressively against the Assiniboine and Cree.

1730 –Eastern Sioux abandoned their northern homelands in Minnesota and moved to the west side of the Mississippi.

1730s –Southern Assiniboine and Western Cree moved west for subsistence and in response to Dakota war pressures. The Northern Assiniboine continued their economy of fishing, waterfowl, moose and caribou.The Southern Assiniboine began to hunt buffalo. Southern Assiniboines traded with the Hidatsa and Mandan.

1750s –Southern Assiniboines acquired horses.

1777 –Founding of Hudson’s House on the lower North Fork of the Saskatchewan River. Inter-tribal conflicts developed among the Assiniboine, Gros Ventre and Cree, as each tribe desired control of the tribal trade.

1781 – 1782 –Smallpox epidemic among the Assiniboines, Gros Ventres, Blackfeet and Western Cree. This epidemic was one of the most important events to influence two-thirds of the southern Assiniboine to move south. The second motivation was trade with the Europeans and the Mandan and Hidatsa.

1800 –By this time, the Assiniboine relied heavily upon horses and had evolved to a plains economy, with bison at the center. Assiniboine tipis used a three-pole base and required twelve or more bison hides to complete the cover.

1826 –Treaty of 1826 – Assiniboine

1837 –Second major smallpox epidemic.

1851 –Fort Laramie Treaty with the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ogallala, Brule Sioux, Crow, Shoshone, Assiniboines, Gros Ventre, Mandans, Arikaras and Minnitarees – an estimated 10,000 Indians were present. The treaty recognized vast territories for the different tribal groups and secured the right to build roads and erect forts in the tribal territories. The right to build roads through tribal lands was to accommodate travel to Oregon and California. Gold had been discovered in California in 1848.

1852 –Fort Laramie Treaty was amended.

1855 –The Judith River/Lame Bull Treaty with the Blackfeet Nation defined and common hunting grounds, and identified Assiniboine hunting rights.

1855 –Fort Stewart was built on the Missouri River near present-day Blair, Montana.

1857 –Sioux & Assiniboine battle on the Poplar River. This incident referred to a battle in which Sitting Bull prevented warriors from killing an Assiniboine boy. Eastman knew Sitting Bull and reported these words on the event: “The second incident that made him well known was his taking of a boy captive in battle with the Assiniboines. He saved this boy’s life and adopted him as his brother. Hóhay, as he was called, was devoted to Sitting Bull and helped much in later years to spread his fame.” (Eastman, Charles. Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1918 and Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991, p. 114) Other primary sources on this incident were related in Robert M. Utley’s book The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull (Ballantine Books, 1994). These sources describe the incident as a battle in which people on both sides were killed.

1860 –Fort Kipp was built on the Missouri River above the mouth of the Big Muddy.

1861–Fort Poplar was built on the Missouri River near the Poplar River.

1862 –The Sioux wars began with the Santee uprising in Minnesota. Two treaties, one in 1851 and 1858, brought settlers into the rich Minnesota agricultural lands ceded by the Dakota. Trying to exist in a diminished land base, surrounded by settlements, and cheated the annuities promised by the treaties, the Dakota made the decision to go to war. The violence lasted six weeks, ending with the hanging of 39 Dakota men. Their sentence was ordered in a letter written by President Lincoln in December 1862.

1865 –The United States negotiated a treaty with Sioux bands they deem “friendly.”

1866 –The United States began negotiations with hostile Sioux over travel routes to Montana. Red Cloud declared war when the United States moves to fortify the Bozeman Trail. The campaign ended with the annihilation of Colonel Fetterman and his troops.

1868 –The Fort Buford military reserve was established from Assiniboine lands.

1868 & 1869 –Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, and River Crow were assigned to the Upper Milk River Agency.

1868 –The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation as the permanent homeland of the Sioux Nation and preserves the Powder River and Big Horn country as “unceded Indian territory.”

1868 –A sub-agency was built to furnish rations to the lower Assiniboine, Sioux, Gros Ventre, and River Crows. The agency was built south of the Milk River and is called Fort Browning. In keeping with President Grant’s Peace Policy, the Fort Peck Tribes were awarded to the Methodist denomination.

1870 –President Grant’s second annual message to Congress on December 5, 1870, outlined his policy on Indian Affairs: “Reform in the management of Indian affairs has received the special attention of the Administration from its inauguration to the present day. The experiment of making it a missionary work was tried with a few agencies given to the denomination of Friends, and has been found to work most advantageously. All agencies and superintendencies not so disposed of were given to officers of the Army. The act of Congress reducing the Army renders army officers ineligible for civil positions. Indian agencies being civil offices, I determined to give all the agencies to such religious denominations as had heretofore established missionaries among the Indians, and perhaps to some other denominations who would undertake the work on the same terms–i.e., as a missionary work. The societies selected are allowed to name their own agents, subject to the approval of the Executive, and are expected to watch over them and aid them as missionaries, to Christianize and civilize the Indian, and to train him in the arts of peace. The Government watches over the official acts of these agents, and requires of them as strict an accountability as if they were appointed in any other manner. I entertain the confident hope that the policy now pursued will in a few years bring all the Indians upon reservations, where they will live in houses, and have schoolhouses and churches, and will be pursuing peaceful and self-sustaining avocations, and where they may be visited by the law-abiding white man with the same impunity that he now visits the civilized white settlements. I call your special attention to the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for full information on this subject.”

1871 –Fort Peck Agency was established at old Fort Peck to serve the lower Assiniboine and Sioux.

1871 –Indians attached themselves to the agency.

1872 –The United States provided aid to the Fort Peck agency.

1873 –Executive Order by President Grant established an undivided reservation for the Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, Assiniboine and Sioux. The territory covered lands north of the Missouri and Sun River. Fort Peck Agency was opened at the confluence of the Milk River and the Missouri Rivers.

1874 –President Grant’s Executive Order diminished tribal territories, moving the southern boundary north of the Sun River to the Marias.

1876 – 1877 –Sioux campaign with Sitting Bull

1876 –The Sioux were given the date of January 31, to return to the reservation from their hunting expedition or they would be considered as hostiles.

1876 –The Battle of the Little Big Horn

1877 –The agency moved to a site on the Poplar River. General Miles was stationed at Fort Peck to maintain order.

1877 –Sitting Bull fled to Canada.

1879 –Presbyterians were granted permission from the Methodists to start a mission on the reservation.

1880 –A military post was established at a point just north of Poplar. It remained until around 1893.

1881 –Chief Gall surrendered.

1881 –Sitting Bull surrendered at Fort Buford.

1883 –Starvation on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation – in part due to the extermination of buffalo.

1885 –A proposal was put forth to divide the reservation.

1886 –A treaty, establishing the confines of the Fort Peck reservation, was entered into between the Indians and the government. This reservation was created from the existing one established for multiple tribes by Grant’s Executive Order in 1874.

1887 –Railroads were built through northern Montana reservations.

1887 –An agreement was negotiated, ceding 17,500,000 acres of land to the US Government, and dividing the remaining 6,000,000 into three separate reservations – The Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck. This is often referred to as the Sweetgrass Hills Treaty/Agreement.

1888 –Congressional Act ratified the Sweetgrass Hills Agreement establishing the Fort Peck Reservation.

1889 –Beef rations to the Fort Peck Tribes were cut in half.

1889 –Congressional Act reduced the Fort Peck Reservation to its current size.

1896 –The federal government discontinued aid to Indian Missions.

1897 –The Catholics established a mission on Fort Peck Reservation.

1908 –Passing of the Allotment Act for Fort Peck Reservation lands.

1909 –Yankton and Assiniboine Council elected a business Committee and considered application for enrollment.

1913 –1,348,408 acres of reservation lands were deemed “surplus,” after tribal allotments were made. This land was opened up for homestead entry.

1927 –The Fort Peck Tribes developed a tribal Constitution.

1950s –Oil was discovered and there was a subsequent oil boom.

1960 –Fort Peck Tribes revised their Constitution and By-Laws.

1978 –Fort Peck Community College was chartered.

Buy Assiniboine T-shirt1980s –The second oil boom on the Fort Peck Reservation

2008 –The Fort Peck Tribes held a constitutional convention.


Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes and Fort Belknap Reservation Timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral
histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. This is a brief timeline of the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes and the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Time Immemorial Creation –Iktomi and Earthmaker (The Keeper of the Flat Pipe) instructed the animals to dive for mud. Several animals were successful and the mud was used to make land on top of the water.

Traditional Life – The Assiniboine were part of the Yanktonai Sioux, living in the Lake Superior area. The Gros Ventre were linguistically affiliated with the Arapaho. Before their arrival in Montana, they were known to occupy lands in southern Saskatchewan and north to the Saskatchewan River.

1600 –The Assiniboine split off from the Sioux, and moved west toward the Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg. Some Assiniboine bands moved farther west to the southern part of Saskatchewan.

1754 –The Gros Ventre had their first documented contact with whites between the north and south forks of the Saskatchewan River.

1780 – 1783 –Smallpox epidemics severely reduced the Gros Ventre population.

1793 –The Gros Ventre attacked the Hudson Bay Trading post, South Branch House. Most of the employees were killed.

Buy Assiniboine T-shirt1794 –The Gros Ventre attacked another Hudson Bay Trading Post, the Manchester House. The Gros Ventre suffered attacks from the Cree and Assiniboine who were being armed by the Hudson Bay trading posts.

1826 –The Gros Ventre met German explorer and naturalist Prince Maximilian, near the Missouri River in Montana. Artist Karl Bodmer accompanied Maximilian and they both painted portraits and recorded their meeting with the Gros Ventre.

1830 – 1832 –The Gros Ventre and Arapaho separated after a disagreement and killing on both sides. While the incident was resolved and peace restored, the groups held to the decision to separate.

1832 –The Gros Ventre engaged in a battle with trappers and Indians at Pierre’s Hole in Wyoming.

1843 –Assiniboine and Cree at the Sweet Grass Hills killed four hundred Gros Ventre.

1837 –1838 –Smallpox epidemic devastated the Assiniboine.

1851 –The Fort Laramie Treaty included the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ogallala, Brule Sioux, Crow, Shoshone, Assiniboines, Gros Ventre, Mandans, Arikaras and Minnitarees – 10,000 Indians were in attendance. Article 5 described territories of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine.


1853 –Treaty negotiations with the Gros Ventre at the Milk River. The Milk River country was the primary location of the Gros Ventre at this time. The following year, the tribe received one thousand dollars of food and annuities, along with the Piegan.


1855 –Judith River Treaty / Lame Bull Treaty – Common hunting grounds were determined and the Assiniboine had hunting privileges in common with the Blackfeet.


1866 –A raiding party of Pend d’Oreille stole horses from the Gros Ventre. The Gros Ventre tracked the horses to a camp of Piegans. Not knowing that the Piegans were not the raiders, the Gros Ventre retaliated, killing three people. This incident fueled continuing conflicts between the two tribes until the late 1870s.


1867–Fort Belknap was established on the south side of the Milk River. It served as both a fort and a trading post, and became the agency for the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Indians in the area. The Fort was named after the Secretary of War at that time, William W. Belknap.


1873 and 1874 –President Grant issued Executive Orders. The 1873 Executive Order established and undivided territory for the Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, and Sioux. The territory spanned lands north of the Missouri And Sun River. The 1874 Executive Order moved the southern boundary from the Sun River north to the Marias River.


1875 –President Grant issued an Executive Order restoring some of the lands diminished by his prior orders.


1880 –President Rutherford Hays took back the land that Grant had restored. This area included land around the Musselshell and Missouri River.


1884 –Gold was discovered in the Little Rockies on the reservation. Miners stake claims even though the gold is on Indian land.


1887–St. Paul’s Mission was established at the foot of the Little Rockies near Hays.


1888 –The Sweetgrass Hills Agreement established the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and the Fort Peck Reservations.


1888 –Completion of the Great Northern Railroad, crossing reservation lands.


1895–The Tribes were pressured to sell land in the Little Rockies where gold was discovered. A piece of land seven miles long by seven miles wide was sold. Payment was $360,000. George Bird Grinnell led the commission negotiating this deal. This agreement ratified in 1896 is sometimes referred to as the Grinnell Treaty.


1908 –Winters V. United States: This US Supreme Court case was pivotal in determining reserved water rights for tribes. The Fort Belknap Tribes pursued the case as non-Indian settlers began diverting and using water from the Milk River on their northern border.


1909 –The Gros Ventre engaged a group of Crow and Lakota warriors south of the reservation. The site was named after Gros Ventre warrior, Red Whip, who killed twelve Lakota in the battle.

1924 –The Washington DC Bureau of Indian Affairs Office approved the Fort Belknap allotment plan. The government allotted 539,065 acres of land to 1,171 Indians enrolled at Fort Belknap. Tribal members received 40 acres of irrigable land and 320 acres of non-irrigable land. Lands not allotted on the Fort Belknap Reservation were not opened up to homesteading

1933 –As part of the New Deal program, the proposal to build Fort Peck Dam was authorized, resulting in tons of rock being hauled from Fort Belknap’s Snake Butte to the dam site. Original payment to be provided was 5 cents a ton. The tribes were able to negotiate for twenty-five cents a ton.

1934 –A delegation of tribal members traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota for the regional Indian Congress.

1935 –The Fort Belknap Tribes organized under the Indian Reorganization Act and adopt a Constitution and By-Laws.

1937–The tribes ratified a corporate charter August 25.

1941 – 1945 –Years of World War II, during which 25,000 American Indians served in the military, including Fort Belknap tribal members.

1974 –The Fort Belknap Tribal Constitution was amended to elect a council consisting of 12 representatives – six Gros Ventre and six Assiniboine.

1977 –The Zortman and Landusky mines began operation on the land that the tribes had been pressured to sell in 1895. The mines extracted gold from low-grade ore by cyanide heap-leach process.

1984 –Fort Belknap Community College was chartered.

1992 –Indian law Resource Center represented the Fort Belknap Tribes in case to shut the Zortman and Landusky mines down, citing degradation of the reservation’s water and air quality.

1994 –The tribal constitution was amended. The Fort Belknap Community Council make up was changed to four representatives from three districts (two districts get one representative and one district gets two). These representatives serve two-year terms. The chair and vice-chair run for election as a team and must include one Assiniboine and one Gros Ventre. These positions are four-year terms. The council then appoints a secretary/treasurer.

1998 –Pegasus Gold Inc., operators of the Zortman and Landusky mines, declared bankruptcy. Over 30 million dollars were spent on reclamation of the Zortman and Landusky open pit mines. The money fell short and the Bureau of Land Management spent around another 12 million to reclaim the area. Cyanide mining was banned in Montana.

2002 –Tribal enrollment changed, with tribal blood quantum lowered from one-fourth degree to one-eighth degree.



Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe and Flathead Reservation timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. This is a brief timeline of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes and the Flathead Reservation.

Time Immemorial
The Creation and time of the animal people. Coyote and Fox traveled the earth preparing the world for human beings.

Traditional Life –The Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai flourished in their aboriginal territory that included most of Montana, portions of Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Canada. The Salish Tribe grew, becoming so large that the people had to divide into smaller bands.

Pre-1700 A Salish prophet, X̣ alíqs, Shining Shirt foresaw the coming of the “Black Robes” (Catholic Jesuits).

1650 – 1700 The Salish and Pend d’Oreille acquired horses from theShoshone.

1775 –Blackfeet gained continued access to firearms through Hudson Bay Company in Canada, leading to an uneven power struggle with area tribes over a rapidly decreasing land base.

1780s A smallpox outbreak reached a group of Salish camped in the Missoula area. The camp divided families with smallpox and those without. One group went to the Bitterroot Valley while the other moved to the Drummond area. Only one boy in the Bitterroot camp survived the epidemic. By 1782, small pox had killed an estimated one-half to three-quarters of the Salish and Pend d’ Oreille bands. The combination of the introduction of disease, firearms and horses led to massive changes in intertribal territories. Blackfeet expansion caused eastern bands of the Salish and Pend d’ Oreille to move their winter camps west of the continental divide. The Salishian people called the Tunáxn, who occupied the Rocky Mountain front, were decimated. The survivors scattered to the west and merged with other tribes, bringing about the near extinction of a native people.

1790s The first French and British fur traders appeared in what is now western Montana and the Flathead Indian Reservation.

1803 –In the Louisiana Purchase the United States purchased from France the right to be the only purchaser of tribal lands when and if Indians ever chose to sell any land, and, the sovereign and commercial rights to be the only government to trade and engage in diplomatic relationships with the tribal nations in the Louisiana Territory.

1805 The Salish allowed Lewis and Clark to enter Salish territory in the Bitterroot Valley near Darby, opening the door to fur trade in Salish territory.

1809 The Salish gained regular access to firearms through the establishment of fur trade in western Montana by David Thompson. Saleesh House, at Seyɫk͏ʷm – Salish placename in reference to “the Sound of Falling Water” located at Thompson Falls along with Kullyspell House at Lake Pend Oreille in present day North Idahoestablished fur posts in Salish and Pend’ Oreille aboriginal territory.

1811 – 1830 The peak years of the Fur Trade in the Northwest which had far-reaching impacts on the ecology, economy, and culture of the people of this region. Arrival of Iroquois people among the Salish people

1811 Kullyspell House having been built off the main travel ways was abandoned.

1831, 1835, 1837, 1839 Years that the Salish sent delegations to St. Louis to bring back the “Black Robes,” the Catholic Jesuit Priests.

1841 Father De Smet and the first Jesuit missionaries arrived in Montana, establishing St. Mary’s, a mission near present day Stevensville in the Bitterroot. The Salish placename for St. Mary’s is q̓éɫml̓š meaning widecottonwoods.

1846 –The Oregon Treaty between the United States and Great Britain divided aboriginal territory along the current Canadian border on the 49th parallel. Millions of acres of aboriginal lands in current Canada were lost. Kootenai bands along with tribes in the Salish language family were now placed in separate jurisdictions.

1848 The United States organized Oregon Territory, exerting jurisdiction over Tribal aboriginal lands west of the continental divide.

1851 –The Fort Laramie Treaty impacted aboriginal territory east of the Rocky Mountains. The treaty failed to recognize use of Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai aboriginal lands east of the Continental Divide.

1853 –Isaac Stevens surveyed a route for Northern Pacific Railroad.

1855 Tribal leaders and U.S. officials signed the Treaty of Hell Gate. Under terms of the treaty, tribal leaders ceded to the U.S. “title” to the vast majority of their lands west of the continental divide. Tribal leaders reserved 1.25 million acres for the Flathead Reservation, along with the “Conditional Bitterroot Reservation ”for what the treaty said was to be for the tribes “exclusive use and benefit.” In the treaty, the tribes also reserved rights on their ceded lands, including the right to hunt, fish, gather plants, and pasture livestock on “open and unclaimed lands.” Tribal understanding of the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation was considerably different from what was actually written in the treaty, particularly, the east, west and northern boundaries.

1855 –Lame Bull/Judith River Treaty with the “Blackfoot Nation” (Piegan, Blood, Blackfoot and Gros Ventre) and the “Flathead Nation” (Flathead – Salish, Upper Pend d’Oreille, Kootenai) and Nez Perce. In an effort to establish peace among warring tribes, the U.S. government convened treaty negotiations to establish a “Common Hunting Ground” that would be acknowledged and honored by all of the tribes. At these negotiations, Pend d’Oreille Chief Alexander told all the other Indian leaders present that the Sweetgrass Hills country “was an old road for our people. A long time ago our people belonged to this land.” Alexander’s statement documented tribal homelands east of the Rocky Mountains – as other tribes moved into Montana, the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai were forced to concentrate their populations on the west side of the mountains.

1859 –Hell Gate Treaty of 1855 was ratified by U.S. Senate and signed by thePresident.

1864 First major gold rush in Montana Territory brought thousands of non-Indian people with it.

1870 X͏ʷeɫxƛ̓cin – Many Horses, Chief Victor, died out in buffalo country. His son, Sɫm̓x̣e Q͏ʷox̣qeys –Claws of the Small Grizzly, or Chief Charlo, succeeded him as head chief of the Bitterroot Salish.

1870’s –Six buffalo calves survived a journey west to the Flathead Reservation. atat̓i, – Little Falcon Robe, brought the calves to the reservation. These calves eventually became the Pablo-Allard herd. Remnants of this herd sold to Canada made their way back to the reservation when the National Bison Range was formed.

1871 President Grant signed an Executive Order, requiring the Salish to leave the Bitterroot Valley and go the “Jocko” reservation. The president’s action was not based on any survey or examination of the Bitterroot for a suitable place (reservation) for the Salish, as required by the 1855 Treaty of Hell Gate. Representative James Garfield was appointed by President Grant to secure the Salish removal to the Jocko Reservation.

1872– Representative Garfield met with the Salish near present-day Stevensville to secure their approval and signature on an agreement for their removal to the Jocko Reservation. Chief Charlo refused to sign. Under the terms of the agreement, the Salish were to move from the Bitterroot Valley to the Jocko Reservation (Flathead Reservation) in exchange for $55,000, new log houses, a side of beef for every family, and plots of land designated specifically for the Salish. Salish sub-chiefs Arlee and Adolph signed the contract, but head chief Charlo, son of Victor, refused to sign, therefore making the contract invalid. When the agreement was officially presented upon Garfield’s return, a signature mark, which was a forgery, appeared on the contract by Chief Charlo’s typed name. Chief Charlo was enraged when he found out about this deception. The senate approved the agreement for ratification.

1873 Chief Arlee and a few families moved to the reservation and settle near the Jocko Agency.

1875 By fall of this year, 123 Salish had moved from the Bitterroot Valley to the reservation. The North American bison population had dwindled to about one million, due toa deliberate campaign to exterminate them. “The elders say that in the second to last year of the traditional Pend d’Oreille buffalo hunts, the hunters were able to kill only 27. The following year they killed only seven.” “Going to buffalo” was becoming only a memory.

1877 Fort Missoula established in the Bitterroot in large part due to the Nez Perce war. The non-Indians in Montana Territory feared all Indians were going to rebel against the federal government and demanded protection.

1882 Tribal leaders were pressured into signing an agreement to allow a railroad right-of-way through the reservation, relinquishing 1,430 acres of reservation lands.

1883 Railroad tracks were laid across the Flathead Reservation. Tribal leaders expressed their anger and resentment at the continuing loss of tribal homelands. “The country we gave the government is very valuable. Lots of white men made independent fortunes in my country…We don’t want the railroad to go through the reservation…When we heard that you were coming, we made up our minds what to say to you. You seem to like your money, and we like our country; it is like our parents.” Kootenai leader Eneas said, “I would like to get the Flathead Lake country back. There are things that the government promised me in that treaty that I have never seen…We had a big country, and under those conditions we signed the treaty. Seven years after that we learned that the line of the reservation ran across the middle of Flathead Lake…. I do not wish the road to pass through the reservation. This reservation is a small country and yet you want five depots upon it…My country was like a flower and I gave you its best part…”

1884 –Sisters of Providence boarding school was built in St. Ignatius.

1887 The Dawes General Allotment Act was passed, mandating the breaking up of communal tribal homelands and setting a course for catastrophic land loss on reservations.

1888 –Boys boarding school was completed in St. Ignatius.

1890 The Ursuline nuns arrived in St. Ignatius and began a kindergarten, which eventually expanded into a grade school and high school that operated until 1972.

1891 Chief Charlo and the Salish were forcibly removed to the Jocko Reservation after 36 years of resisting removal,in the conviction that the 1855 Treaty of Hell Gate had guaranteed the Bitterroot Valley for their reservation.

1893 Flathead Reservation Indian Agent Peter Ronan died. Indian agents that succeeded Ronan were proponents of allotment and homesteading the Flathead Indian reservation.

1895 Congress appointed “Crow, Flathead Commission” to negotiate cession of reservation lands. Tribal leaders refused to cede any lands at any price.

1898 –The first Arlee July celebration was held in spite of the protests from the priests and Indian Agents William Smead was appointed as the U.S. Indian agent for the Flathead Indian Reservation. Smead, as a state representative, had previously advocated for opening up the reservation to white settlement.

1901 A small delegation of representatives of the U.S. Government, led by Commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles Hoyt, met with tribal leaders on the reservation to discuss an offer to buy part of the northern end of the reservation. Tribal leaders refused to sell. Chief Charlo stated, “I will not sell a foot (of land).” Kootenai Chief Isaac responded, “My body is full of your people’s lies. You told me I was poor and needed money, but I am not poor. What is valuable to a person is land, the earth, water, trees…and all these belong to us…We haven’t any more land than we need, so you had better buy from somebody else.”

1901 – 1904 –Agricultural production statistics of 1902 recorded there were: 25,000 cultivated acres; 120,000 bushels of grain; 25,000 tons of hay; and 20, 900 bushels of vegetables produced by tribal members. There were: 25,000 horses; 27,000 cattle; and 600 bison owned by tribal members.

1901 Last documented small pox outbreak among the Salish. A quarantine camp was set up near Mission Creek.

1903 Montana Congressman Joseph Dixon introduced a bill to Congress to impose the Allotment Act on the Indians of the Flathead Indian Reservation.

1904 Congress passed the Flathead Allotment Act, setting the course for the loss of over 60% of the reservation land base. Heads of household were assigned 160 acres, while single adults received 80 acres. Two rounds of allotments were held. An enrollment and census were done to assign allotments. At this time, many names were altered, as the census workers insisted on each individual having two names. Upon completion of the census, 2,390 tribal members were eligible to receive allotments. Of the 1,245,000 acres, only 245,000 were secured by allotments. The remaining grazing and agricultural lands were opened up to homesteading. Amendments to the act seized additional lands for town sites, the Indian agency, churches, reservoirs, power sites, and 61,000 acres for Montana school lands. The 16th and 36th section of each township were set aside for school support. Immediately following allotment, Indian owned cattle dropped to 5,000 head and the horse herd was reduced to 4,000.

1905 Chief Charlo traveled to Washington D.C. to try to persuade the President to halt the allotment process on the Flathead Reservation.

1906 Chief Charlo sent tribal leaders Antoine Moiese and Alicot to Washington D.C. to make another allotment protest to the President, Congress, or anyone who would listen. Indian Agent Smead forced Michel Pablo to sell buffalo. Between 1906 and 1913, buffalo were gradually rounded up and shipped to Canada, the sole purchaser.

1906 –Congress passed the Burke Act that allowed Indian allotments to be taken out of federal trust if the allottee was deemed “competent.”

1908 First round of allotment of lands to tribal members was completed. After 2,400 allotments were issued, covering 228,434 acres, the remaining land was declared “surplus.” The Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes suffered another loss of reservations lands as a Congressional Act passed in 1908 took 16,000 + acres for a National Bison Range. Flathead Irrigation Project bill passed, justified as aiding Indians in transition to agriculture. The project actually benefited non-Indian farmers and ranchers, and harmed many native subsistence operations. Many Indians lacked the money to pay the irrigation charges, which led to allotments being seized for settlement of debts. State Game Warden killed four members of a Pend d’Oreille family hunting party in Swan Valley. The game warden was killed by one of the tribal women who acted in self defense.

1910 Chief Charlo died on January 10. In April the Flathead Reservation was officially opened up to non-Indian settlement. “Surplus” reservation lands were sold to homesteaders.

1911 Public schools began to open to serve the non-Indian homesteaders.

1911 – 1934 By 1930, most of the Indian allotments were now in non-Indian ownership.

1917 – 1919 The United States participation in World War I included many American Indian soldiers, among them members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

1920 –A second round of allotments transferred 124,795 acres from communal Tribal ownership to individual tribal member ownership.

1924 –Congress granted citizenship to American Indians.

1927 After learning of plans to construct a massive hydroelectric power plant and dam on the lower Flathead River; a coalition of non-Indian reservation residents, the Rocky Mountain Power Company, the BIA, and other profiteers, attempted to take ownership of the proposed dam site.

1928 Congress affirmed the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ ownership of the proposed dam site.

1930 Rocky Mountain Power Company secured a license from the FPC to build the hydroelectric power plant on the proposed reservation site.

1933 60% of the original tribal allotments were lost. This land became fee land owned by non-Indians.

1933 –1942 –he Civilian Conservation Corps was funded during these years employing tribal members building trails and roads on the reservation.

1934 Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act. This Act repealed the Dawes Act and enabled tribes to voluntarily organize and adopt federally approved constitutions and by-laws.

1935 The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes organized under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, ratified a tribal constitution and created an elected government of 10 tribal council representatives and the last two federally recognized head chiefs, Chiefs Charlo and Koostahtah. The first Tribal Council meeting was held at the Flathead Agency in Dixon. The Council representatives were Edwin Dupuis, Alexander Clairmont, Louis Tellier, Eneas Conko, Nicolai Lassaw, Duncan (Charlie) McDonald, William Gingras, Louis Adams Sr., Louis Couture and Joseph Blodgett. Chief Martin Charlo and Chief Koostahtah were life members and active members of all committees. The first committees established were Land, Finance, Law and Order, Health, Labor and Education. The council made a recommendation to designate an area of the Mission Mountains for management similar to the National Parks, keeping it undeveloped and allowing only foot and horse trails.

1936 The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes adopted a corporate charter. A first order of business was to address issues with Montana Power Company and their license at Kerr Dam. This included appropriate rental fees, preference hiring of tribal members in the construction work. The original annual rental fee was $140,000.

1936-1938 –Kerr Dam was built.

1941 – 1945 Years of World War II, during which 25,000 American Indians served in the military, including many CS&KT tribal members. Indian people also worked in defense-related industries. According to late tribal elder Margaret Finley, life changed very rapidly for Indian people, “…when we got in the war with the Japanese, Pearl Harbor, right after that. Everything changed very fast, very, very fast…how we do things together, happiness, all that. It all changed.” American Indian people left their home communities – many for the first time – to serve in the war or work in defense projects. People who still held the collective memory of an old tribal world were exposed to a global world that would forever change the country their world was now situated in.

1951 – 1953 Tribal members again enlisted in the military and served during the Korean War.

1953 House Concurrent Resolution 108, the Termination Act, targeted the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Termination ended a tribe’s sovereign status and relationship with the federal government as a political entity. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were at the top of the list of tribes to be terminated. Termination was considered “voluntary” and required tribal member consent, although pressure and coercion were not uncommon.

1954 The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes successfully resisted the U.S. government’s attempt to terminate their tribes and reservation.

1960 –The Tribal Constitution was amended to change the blood quantum requirement for membership to one-quarter degree Salish or Kootenai or both combined. The change was not retroactive, and only applied to people born after the amendment was approved.

1961 The tribes entered into a Public Law 83-280 agreement with the state of Montana. This law allowed the state to assume criminal and civil jurisdiction on the reservation. Five states were mandated to this jurisdiction change and Alaska became the sixth mandatory state in 1958. Montana was not one of the mandatory states, however, the remaining 44 states, including Montana, had the option to assume jurisdiction in Indian Country. PL83-280 was amended between 1953 and 1968, allowing states to assume jurisdiction unilaterally. In response, after tribal opposition, Congress amended PL 83-280 to include a requirement for tribal consent for the jurisdiction change, and also to allow acceptance of “retrocession” of the state’s assumption of jurisdiction.

1963 –The state of Montana passed legislation to allow the state to assume jurisdiction on reservations. However, by this time the law had been amended to require tribal consent. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were the only tribe in the state to agree to PL 83-280.

1965 The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes passed a Tribal Ordinance defining the terms under which they would come under PL 83-280.

1965 The Indian Claims Commission determined that Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes had not been compensated for the lands ceded in the 1855 Treaty of Hell Gate. “…the Tribes had surrendered 12,005,000 acres to the government which were worth $5,300,000. The total payment to the tribes, however, had only been $593,377.82.” After fees were taken out, the tribes received $4,016,293.29 in 1967. The compensation was determined in 1855 land values. No interest paid on the 112 years the Tribes had been deprived of the money.

1971 The U.S. Court of Claims found that the Flathead Allotment Act was a breach of the 1855 Treaty of Hell Gate. Compensation to the Tribes was determined in 1912 land values, totaling $7,410,000, of which only $1,783,549 had been paid. The balance of $5,626,451 was paid a few years later.

1974 Tribal elders Christine Woodcock, Louise McDonald and Annie Pierre protested the Ashley timber sale in the Mission Mountains, successfully stopping it.

1975 Two Eagle River School was founded, serving high school students with a dominant focus on cultural studies.

1975 –The Culture Committee was formed and then divided into the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee and the Kootenai Culture Committee. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Act passed, which recognized the right of Indian tribes to self-government “as domestic dependent nations, Indian tribes exercise inherent sovereign powers over their members and territory.”

1976 Salish Kootenai College was founded. Prior to 1976, only 41 tribal members had college degrees, compared to 423 from 1976 to 1995.

1978 –The Supreme Court ruled that Tribal Courts do not have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, and that tribal courts DO have jurisdiction over non-Indians in matters such as permits, licensing, and environmental protection.

1981 The CS&KT Natural Resources Department was established.

1982 The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council approved Tribal Ordinance 79A, setting aside approximately 91,778 acres of the Mission Range as the Mission Mountain Wilderness.

1984 The Tribes negotiated re-licensing of Kerr Dam, which secured the option to take control of the dam in 2015, and raised the fee from $2.6 million to $9 million annually, along with annual adjustments for inflation.

1985 The Tribes secured minimum stream flows to protect fisheries.

1997 The National Trust for Historic Preservation named “the Flathead Indian Reservation one of 11 Most Endangered Places in the United States” due to the proposed radical expansion of U.S. Highway 93.

1998 The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) agreed as part of a legal settlement to pay the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes $18.3 million to restore, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of Tribal treaty protected resources that were injured by the release of hazardous substances in the Clark Fork River through mining and smelting in Butte and Anaconda.

1999 The “Squaw” word bill passed Montana State Legislation. The Salish and Pend d’ Oreille Culture Committee begin work to rename over 20 “S” word sites with Salish place names. By 2009, 19 proposed Salish place names were approved by the US Board of Geographic Names to replace “S” word sites across Montana.

2002 –Nkwusm, the Salish Language Immersion School, opened in Arlee.


Blackfeet tribe timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. Here is a brief tribal timeline for the Blackfeet tribe and the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.


Time Immemorial Creation – “Napi,” Old Man, created the Rocky Mountain Range, the Sweetgrass Hills and other geographic features in Montana and Canada.
6,500 BC – Native Americans of pre-history populate all areas of Montana.
500 BC – The “Dog Days.” The Blackfeet follow the “Old North Trail” over the “Backbone of the World,” using dogs and dog travois to carry their household goods.
1650 – Blackfeet discovered in central Canada by early European explorers.
1690 – Henry Kelsey of the Hudson’s Bay Company makes brief contact with the Blackfeet in Alberta.

1730 – Blackfeet attacked by Shoshone on horseback. First time Blackfeet have seen horses which they call “Elk Dogs.”

Buy Blackfeet Hat1730 – Fifty Blackfeet probably acquired their first horses in peaceful trade with their neighbors, the Flathead, Kootenai, and Nez Perce.
1731 – French Jesuits begin to arrive.
1748 – First French trappers arrive in Blackfeet country.
1750 – Alexander Henry of the Northwest Fur Company makes contact with the Piegans.
1754 – Anthony Hendry of the Hudson’s Bay Company becomes first white man to meet with the Blackfoot, stayed in a Blood camp of 322 lodges near present day Red Deer, Albert, Canada. Tried to convince Blackfoot to trade but the Bloods were not interested. They had horses and the buffalo were plentiful.
1772 – Matthew Cocking of the Hudson’s Bay Company spent the winter with the Blackfoot. He found them friendly and hospitable, but they still refused to trade.
1780 – Hudson Bay Company builds Buckingham House on the Saskatchewan River in Canada, reaching Blackfeet country. Blackfeet obtain guns through trade.
1780 – 1705 Blackfeet almost exterminate the Shoshone in battles over hunting territory.
1780 – A band of Blackfeet raided a Shoshone camp not knowing the Shoshone had small pox. The raid resulted in a smallpox epidemic among the Blackfeet band. One third of the Blackfeet band died.
1781 – Piegans attacked dying Northern Shoshone camp, contracted smallpox, 50% deaths.
1784 – Declared relentless war on Northern Shoshone, Flathead, and Kootenai.
1786 – The U.S. Department of War establishes ordinance charged with the responsibility for Indian affairs.
1787 – Blackfeet warriors journey south to Santa Fe, encounter Spanish miners and steal their horses.
1787 – Fur trader David Thompson wintered and traded with the Piegan, Northwest Fur Company began trading with the Siksika and Blood.

1802 – United State buys power from France to take Native American lands under the “Doctrine of Discovery of 1493.”
1803 – United States acquires most of Montana through the Louisiana Purchase.
1803 – Tribes of the Louisiana Purchase Territory officially came under U.S. jurisdiction.
1806 – Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) encounters Blackfeet (Piegan) at the junction of Two Medicine River and Badger Creek. Lewis kills one Piegan who was trying to steal a gun.
1808 – Mountain men & fur traders begin to enter the Blackfeet sphere of interest.
1809 – Trader Alexander Henry compiles a census of the Blackfeet, finding a total of 5,200 people among the Piegan, Blackfeet, and Blood tribes.
1810 – Blackfoot crop the tail of the horses they purchased from the Arikara so to distinguish them from their Indian ponies.
1810 – Missouri Fur Company opens a trading post, but is driven out immediately by the Blackfeet.
1811- Crying Bear, a Blackfoot warrior, was killed by Crees in the northern part of their hunting grounds.
1812 – Traders at Edmonton House report that the Bloods and Blackfeet are determined to steal every horse belonging to white men in revenge for the death of their relations, fifty of who had been killed by the Flathead over the past year. The Blackfoot say the white men are supplying the Flathead with guns, which are the cause of their great losses.
1813 – Many Bloods form a war party to raid the Crow Indians on the Big Horn River.
1814 – Top Knot was killed by Crow Indians on the Little Big Horn River.
1815 – A war party of Crees and Assiniboine attacked a camp of twenty Blood and Sarsi lodges on the banks of the Belly River, not far from the site of the first Blood Agency, killing four men and a woman, including, Mad Child, a Blood.
1818 – Buffalo Paunch was killed by his brother.
1818 – The Sun Dance was usually held in early summer, when the Saskatoon berries were ripe. On this occasion, however, a winter camp of Bloods on Sheep River was in danger of being attacked by war parties of Crees. A Holy woman vowed that if they were spared from harm she would sponsor a Sun Dance immediately. When no attack came, the Sun Dance was held, as promised.
1819 – The US and Canadian border was established. The 49th parallel would figure prominently in Blackfeet geography, splitting the Blackfoot tribes on both sides of the border.
1819 – Measles Epidemic kills one-third of the Blackfoot and Gros Ventre Population.
1820 – Four Horns, a Northern Piegan killed by a Pend d’Oreille.
1822 – Chesterfield House established by the Hudson’s Bay Co. on the Red Deer and Belly Rivers.
1824 – The Bureau of Indian Affairs established within the United States War Department.
1824 – Blackfoot in battle with Crows, drive them off.
1824 – Beginning of mountain man fur trade era and constant state of war with trappers.
1825 – The Hudson’s Bay Co. traveling with a large party of Flatheads signs treaty with Bloods, Gros Ventre, and Piegans.
1828 – Treaty No.7 signed by Chief Red Crow establishing Blackfoot, Blood, and Northern Piegan reserves in Alberta, Canada.
1831 – James Kipp & seventy-five men establish Ft. Piegan at the confluence of the Missouri and Marias Rivers.
1831 – First peaceful trade between the Americans and Blackfeet by Kenneth McKenzie.
1831 – Blackfeet horse raiders recorded at Arkansas River in southern Colorado.
1831 – Alfred Jacob Miller attributed Blackfeet to killing 30-40 trappers annually. Smallpox epidemic spread to Sioux.
1832 – George Catlin Visits Blackfeet.
1832 – David Mitchell and sixty men establish Fort McKenzie on a narrow ridge separating the Missouri and Teton Rivers.
1832 – Missouri Fur Company opens again at Fort Piegan on the Missouri River at the mouth of the Marias River.
1833 – A meteoric shower is seen and recorded in the winter counts of the Bloods, camped on the Highwood River.
1833 – Prince Maximilian, a German scientist-explorer, and Karl Bodner, a Swiss artist, spend a month with the Blackfeet at Fort McKenzie. Maximilian becomes the first white observer to describe the Blackfeet men’s societies; Bodner paints portraits of Blackfeet leaders.
1834 – Bureau of Indian Affairs created as part of War Department.
1834 – Blood winter count records a successful horse stealing party against a Crow camp on the Yellowstone River.
1835 – Two Piegans being chased by an enemy raiding party jump into the Marias River and are killed.
1836 – Many children die of diphtheria, by “strangulation of the throat.”
1837 – Smallpox epidemic, brought to the Upper Missouri on the steamboat St.Peters, of the American Fur Company, kills nearly 6,000 Blackfeet, two thirds of the total population.
1838 – The impact of the Smallpox epidemic is so great and prolonged that it is recorded in the winter count for two years.
1840 – Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries arrive.
1840 – End of mountain man fur trade era in Blackfeet territory.
1841 – Episcopalian Missionaries arrive.
1841 – Walking Crow is killed by a Crow war party.
1841 – St. Mary’s Mission founded, then abandoned in 1850.
1841 – First Blackfeet Indian baptized on Christmas day.
1842 – A large number of Bloods gathered at Women’s Buffalo Jump near the Porcupine Hills and killed many buffalo.
1843 – Northern Blackfoot coming to trade at Fort McKenzie were fired upon with a cannon by A.N. Harvey, who was known in Blackfoot as Running Wolf, an action supposedly taken in retaliation for the theft of cattle and the killing of a Negro employee the previous year. Six Indians were killed and several wounded, as recorded in the winter counts of both the Northern Blackfoot and Southern Piegan.
1844 – Blackfeet kill a trader.Traders retaliate. Alexander Harvey killed 30 trading Piegans.
1845 – Father DeSmet meets the Blackfoot.
1845 – Alexander Culbertson negotiated peace treaties.
1846 – Small Robes Band of Piegans massacred by Crow Indians.
1846 – A war party of Crows crept into a Blood camp and took the best horses picketed in front of their owner’s lodge.
1846 – Father DeSmet conducts the first Catholic Mass among the Blackfeet, mainly children are baptized.
1847 – First Jesuit came to live with the Blackfeet.
1847 – Not A Favorite Child, A Blood, was killed by Assiniboines on the Milk River.
1848 – Bad Head leaves his winter camping grounds and takes a large band of Bloods to stay near Fort Benton.
1849 – War party of 800 Blackfoot attack Assiniboine horse raiders and kill 52, while the Blackfoot lost 25.
1849 – The BIA was transferred from the Department of War to the Department of the Interior.
1850 – Eagle Calf, also known as Boy, was killed by Crees near the Sweetgrass Hills.
1851 – The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 (Peace of the Plains Treaty) signed. Blackfeet legal dealings with the U.S. Government begin with this treaty (in which the Blackfeet did not participate) allotting them a large swath of the northern plains.Though the Blackfeet were not present, Article 5 defined their territory, using the Musselshell, Missouri, and Yellowstone Rivers and the Rocky Mountain Range as markers.
1851 – Blackfeet Agency established.
 1852 – Father Of Many Children wintered in the northern part of the hunting grounds while the rest of the Bloods and Piegans went to Fort Benton.
1854 – The Blackfoot were not dog eaters, but when starvation reduced them to this necessity, the incident was recorded in the winter count.
1855 – To make way for the railroad, Isaac Stevens was charged with negotiating a peace between the Blackfeet and the allied tribes – the Nez Perce, Salish and Pend d’Oreille.” Lame Bull’s Treaty is signed on the Judith River. This marked the first official treaty between the Blackfeet and the U.S. Government, and defines the boundaries of “The Blackfeet Nation.” This treaty took place at the mouth of the Judith River with the Blackfeet, Nez Perce and the Salish and Pend d’Oreille (language in treaty also refers to the Flathead tribe).  A common hunting ground was recognized and designated for a period of ninety-nine years. Lands reserved exclusively for the Blackfeet were identified and described.The treaty was ratified in 1856.
1856 – Much of the Blackfoot hunting grounds were covered with ice during the winter, making it difficult to hunt, trade, and care for their horses.
1857 – Prairie White Man is killed by Pend d’Oreille Indians at a point called Shade, near Shelby, Montana.
1858 – Blackfoot note in winter count that there was a big sweat lodge built.
1859 – St. Peters Mission established.
1859 – Two brothers, Hind Bull and Fish Child, chiefs of the Many Fat Horses Band, were drinking near Rocky Mountain House. Hind Bull took his daughter away from her husband and Fish Child objected.
In the argument that followed, Hind Bull shot Fish Child, but before dying, Fish Child stabbed his brother to death.
1860 – Pend d’Oreilles, under their chief, Alexander, were hunting buffalo along the Milk River when they were attacked by a large war party of Assiniboines and Crees. The Pend d’Oreilles had 20 killed, including the chief’s son, 25 wounded, and 290 horses taken. Only the timely arrival of some Piegans prevented the complete extermination of the camp.
1860 – White settlers began to enter Blackfeet country.
1860 – Jesuit Mission created in old Fort Campbell on the Marias River.
1860 – Beginning of the whiskey trade.
1860 – First steamboat arrives on the Missouri River.
1860 – White settlers begin to enter Blackfeet country.
1862 – Tartowa, Prepared Moccasins, a Piegan, went insane and rode through the camp firing his gun. He was finally killed by his two brothers.
1863 – The Gros Ventre (Atsíína) had been allies of the Blackfoot for generations, but a dispute with the Piegans over stolen horses turned them into bitter enemies. A winter count refers to four lodges of Gros Ventres, under a chief named The Stone, who were killed by Piegans on the Belly River. They had been visiting Blood chief Ermine Horse at the time of the attack.
1863 – Annuity payments from the U.S. Government to the Blackfeet do not arrive. Blackfeet send letter of protest to Washington.
1864 – An epidemic of scarlet fever decimates the Blackfoot tribes. By the spring of 1865 over 1,100 Blackfoot had died.
1865 – Fighting breaks out between the Blackfeet and white settlers. Bloods killed 10 white wood cutters.
1865 – After the scarlet fever epidemic of 1864, the Blackfoot harassed the British traders at Rocky Mountain House, blaming them for the disease.
1865–1872 – Father Albert Lacombe writes a Blackfoot Dictionary.
1865 – Unratified Treaty with Montana Governor Meagher and Blackfeet Indian Agent Gad Upson. Though this treaty that identified Blackfeet land cessions was not ratified, settlers began moving into the areas that would have been ceded had the treaty been ratified.
1866 – Father Lacombe with Chiefs Crowfoot and Three Bulls.
1866 – Piegans defeat Crow and Gros Ventres in large scale battle.
1866 – A war party of Bloods and North Blackfoot discover a small Cree camp at the edge of the Red Ocher Hills. They killed 2 women who had been cutting wood, and were following a snow-filled coulee to the top of the hill when they were discovered. The lodges they had attacked were part of a larger camp and soon the Crees surrounded the coulee and slaughtered scores of Bloods and North Blackfoot in the snow.
1867 – The Blackfoot were beginning to obtain repeating rifles from the traders, and were able to kill larger numbers of buffalo. As a result, more dried meat, robes, and leather were taken for trade.
1868 – Some members of the Bear People Band of the Piegan rushed through camp in a drunken state and killed several people.
1868 – New Agreements with the U.S. Government reduce the size of the Blackfeet land allotment.
1869 – Smallpox struck the Blackfoot, again originating with a Missouri River steamboat. By 1870, the death toll reached 1,080 Piegans, 630 Bloods, and 678 North Blackfoot.
1869 – Malcolm Clark killed by Piegan warriors in retaliation for the killing of Mountain Chief’s brother.
1870 – Between 600 and 800 Assiniboines and Crees attacked Blood camps not far from Fort Whoop-Up, at the confluences of the Oldman and St. Mary Rivers. The attackers did not know that a large number of South Piegans with repeating rifles were camped a short distance away. The combined Blood and Piegan forces succeeded in routing the Assiniboines and Crees, inflicting casualties estimated between 200 and 300 warriors.
1870 – The Blackfoot Massacre, often called the Bear River Massacre, the Baker Massacre or the Marias Massacre, occurred when U.S. Soldiers mistakenly attacked the camp of Heavy Runner, a friendly chief, during cold winter weather on January 23. A column of cavalry and infantry under the command of Major Eugene Baker attacked the sleeping camp early in the morning. The attack was purportedly to be in response to the killing of an influential rancher, Malcom Clark. Clark had been in several conflicts with Owl Child, a Piegan, who was not camped with Heavy Runner, but with Mountain Chief. At the end of the attack, 218 people were killed. The largest numbers of victims were women and children. The army gave the death count at 173. Another 140 women and children were captured. While some political leaders were outraged, no disciplinary actions were taken against any of the soldiers. The Blackfeet never faced the U.S. Army in battle again.
1871 – A trading post was built on the Highwood River.This was the era of the “free trader” who carried whiskey and repeating rifles as stock in trade. In later years these posts were dubbed, “whiskey forts.”
1872 – First school for Blackfeet children opened at Four Person Agency at Teton River Agency.
1873 – Calf Shirt was a leader of the Lone Fighters Band of Bloods. Joe Kipp, a trader, killed him in self-defense at Fort Kipp, on the Belly River. The Bloods tried to revive Calf Shirt, but stopped when they thought they were achieving success, because they were afraid that he would come back as a bear.
1873 – Cypress Hills massacre.
1873 – President Grant issued Executive Orders diminishing reservation lands. The 1873 Executive Order diminished 1851 and 1855 treaty lands and established an undivided reservation for the Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, and Sioux. This territory spanned land north of the Missouri and Sun River east to the Dakota border.
1874 – By act of Congress, the Blackfeet reservation boundary moved northward from the Sun River to the Birch Creek – Marias River line. The Blackfeet are neither consulted nor remunerated.
1874 – Choteau Agency Established (Blackfeet, Southern Piegan)
1874 – The Northwest Mounted Police, organized in eastern Canada, arrived at the Oldman River and built Fort Macleod (called in Blackfoot, Akapioyis, meaning, Many Houses)
1875 – Under pressure, President Grant restored some of the lands taken by the 1873 and 1874 Executive Orders.
1875 – The Northwest Mounted Police close illicit “whiskey forts,” and within a year all liquor trading had virtually stopped.
1875 – Agent John Wood urges the Blackfeet to organize. Little Plume elected as head chief, Generous Women and White Calf as subordinate chiefs. New tribal code written.
1876 – The Northwest Mounted Police report that buffalo were plentiful in the Blackfoot hunting grounds during the winter, but that by spring the herds were confined mostly to the Cypress Hills area.
1876 – Custer and his troops annihilated at Little Big Horn. No Blackfeet were involved.
1876 – Running Crane’s Agency established on Upper Badger Creek.
1877 – Treaty No. 7 signed with Blackfoot tribes in Canada.
1877 – James Willard Schultz visits Blackfeet reservation and marries a Blackfeet woman.
1877 – Chief Joseph, Nez Perce, surrenders just east of the Blackfeet reservation near the Bear’s Paw Mountains, with proported statement “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
1878 – Prairie fires destroy grasslands west of Canada’s Cypress Hills, driving the great buffalo herds south into Montana, never to return north again.
1879 – First formal education for Blackfeet at St. Peter’s Mission on the Sun River.
1879 – Old Agency established on Lower Badger Creek.
1879 – Almost all buffalo on the Blood’s hunting grounds had been killed or driven south. In desperation, the Bloods followed the herds, and during the winter they hunted in the Judith Basin region of Montana.
1880 – President Rutherford B. Hays issued an Executive Order taking back the land that President Grant had restored in 1875.
1880 – Itarkuneupatotsop refers to the movement of the Bloods back to Canada after the last buffalo herds were killed. The starving Indians drifted back at the end of winter, and by spring the entire tribe was camped along the Belly River.
1881 – The first Ration Roll created at the Blackfeet Agency on Lower Badger Creek (Old Agency).
1882 – Blood Reserve established in Canada.
1882 – Blackfeet winter buffalo hunt in Montana is successful. No hint that the buffalo would disappear.
1882 – Red Crow, head chief of the Bloods, had 80 horses stolen by a war party of Crees. Although the Bloods pursued them towards Cypress Hills, the raiders were not caught.
1883 – Extermination of large herds of buffalo is nearly complete.
1883 – The Canadian Pacific Railway line reached the eastern edge of Blackfoot territory.
1884 – Last Piegan buffalo hunt takes place near the Sweet Grass Hills.
1883-84 – Starvation Winter. Buffalo herds suddenly disappear. Over 600 Blackfeet starve during the winter and spring (more than one-fourth of the surviving members of the tribe). This is just the number with documented graves near the Indian Agency. It’s estimated the number may have been double that, counting the camps in outlying areas. The Blackfeet become sedentary people, dependent on government rations.
1885 – U.S. Government takes western portion of Blackfeet reservation for mineral exploration.
1885 – Blackfeet Agency was moved to Willow Creek.
1886 – Horse raiding ceased.
1887 –The U.S. Government takes control of Native American property rights. A Code of Laws was enforced by three tribally elected leaders, along with Indian Agent Wood.
1888 – Sweet Grass Hills Agreement
1889 – The Ghost Dance raged through Indian tribes, including the Blackfeet. Wovoka, also known as Jack Wilson, was a Piute born in what is now Esmeralda County, Nevada, in the late 1850s. In 1889, Wovoka saw visions that foretold the coming of a messiah who would help the Indians regain their lost land and bring their dead ancestors back to life. Wovoka directed his many followers to sing and dance in preparation for the event. The ritual, which included elements from the Christian religion, was called the Ghost Dance. Though Wovoka encouraged peace and cooperation, some saw the Ghost Dance movement as a call to overthrow the white man. Increasing fear and mistrust among both whites and Native Americans led to the Sioux outbreak of 1890, when large groups of Indians left the reservations and threatened to make war. Faith in Wovoka’s prediction was shattered on December 29, 1890, during the bloody massacre at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota. Wovoka died in 1932.
1889 – Montana becomes the 41st State.
1889 – First group of Blackfeet admitted to Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. Eventually 187 sent east.
1890 – Blackfeet used in product commercial “Montana Indian Remedies.
1890 – Blackfeet Agency moved to Browning.

1890 – Many Crow people killed by Blackfoot near Sweet Grass Hills, Canada.
1892 – First Boarding school for the Blackfeet opens at Willow Creek, west of present-day Browning.
1893 – Completion of the Great Northern Transcontinental Railroad through Blackfeet country.
1894 – Town of Browning was established on the Blackfeet Reservation.
1895 – Blackfeet Indian Agency Headquarters opens in the new town of Browning.
1896 – A twenty mile wide strip of Blackfeet Reservation is ceded. This “ceded strip” is known today as Glacier National Park. The Blackfeet claimed the land was only provided for a 99 -year lease for the sum of $1,500,000, to be paid at $150,000 per year for ten years.
1897 – Medical clinic established on The Blackfeet Reservation in Browning.
1898 – Forty percent of the Blackfeet tribal cattle herd was lost.
1899 – U.S. Post Office at Durham relocated to Browning.
1902 – Oil is discovered by a copper miner on Swift Creek (not commercial).
1903 – Fence built around entire Blackfeet reservation in Montana with only three gates.
1903 – First Blackfeet Tribal Council elected.
1903 – White Calf, last head chief of the Piegan Blackfeet, dies while on a visit to Washington D.C.
1904 – Cut Bank boarding school established.
1904 – Clark Wissler records Blackfeet songs and stories.
1905 – Cut Bank Boarding School opened. Today it is still operating as a boarding dormitory. Children that live there do not attend school at the site; they are bussed to Browning Public Schools.
1907 and 1908 – U.S. Policy to treat the Indian reservation as property of the entire tribe is reversed in favor of a policy of land allotment. The first allotments were made on the Blackfeet Reservation. The Blackfeet Reservation was surveyed and land was parceled out to individual tribal members. Approximately 2,656 individual Blackfeet tribal members received allotments of 320 acres, held in trust by the government.
1909 – Reservation fence removed.
1909 – Enlarged Homestead Act brought many people to the area.
1910 – Glacier National Park Established.
1910 – U.S. Census reports that 2,268 Indians are living on the Blackfeet reservation, about the same number that lived there in 1885.
1911 – Land Allotment process completed. Surplus lands to be opened for sale were estimated at 156,000 acres. Children born after the middle of the year were allotted 80 acres.
1912 – Reservation-wide survey of land.
1913 – Blackfeet Two Gun White Calf is the model for the Indian Head Nickel.
1914 – The law confirmed that all Blackfeet hunting was prohibited in Glacier National Park, along with all fishing except by hook and line. The National Park Services recognizes that large animals migrated between the park and the Blackfeet Reservation, and tries to pressure the Blackfeet into selling an additional six-mile wide strip east of the park. Both the BIA and the Blackfeet reject the attempt at a further land grab.
1915 – Blackfeet Began raising livestock on the reservation Blackfeet Tribal Business Council (BTBC) created.
1919 – President Wilson signs legislation repealing the 1907 Blackfeet Allotment Act.

1919 – Town of Browning is Incorporated.
1919 – Sherbourne Dam and St. Mary’s Diversion Dam completed.
1919 – Severe drought dropped cattle prices, forcing the sale of land.
1920 – Blackfeet cattle herds wiped out by a severe winter. Starvation follows.
1920 – Illegal Blackfeet hunting continues in Glacier National Park.
1921 – Five-Year Industrial Plan implemented opening large scale farming operations.
1924 – U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall made the decision that Indian tribes were “Domestic Dependent Nations: subject to the U.S. Congress, but not to State law.
1924 – A Blackfeet leader circulates a petition calling for recognition of Blackfeet rights in Glacier National Park, but no progress is made.
1924 – Snyder Act grants full U.S. Citizenship to all American Indians.
1925 – The Blackfeet file a lawsuit based on the National Park Service prohibition of subsistence activities in Glacier National Park. The NPS renews its pressure on the Blackfeet to sell the six-mile wide strip on the Park’s eastern border.
1927 – The 1927 Indian Act forbade aboriginals in Canada from forming political organizations, as well as practicing their traditional culture and language.
1930 – The depression years bring employment and resource improvement through the Indian Division of the Civilian Conservation Crops (CCC).
1931 – Oil in commercial quantities discovered in Cut Bank.
1933 – Cree and Stony Indians of Alberta formed the League of Indians of Alberta (LIA).
1934 – Blackfeet lose more land due to Congress passing the Indian Reorganization Act.
1934 – Of the 1,785 eligible voters, 994 voted in favor of tribal organization under the Wheeler-Howard Act, commonly known as the Indian Reorganization Act. Under this legislation, the Blackfeet Tribal Constitution and By-Laws were ratified in 1935, creating a representative form of government through elected tribal council representatives, called the Blackfeet Tribal Council. Originally numbering 13, tribal council representatives now number nine.
1934 – Douglas Gold, a teacher/principal in the Blackfeet schools for 20 years, stated his conclusion that Blackfeet Indians were less intelligent than Whites.
1935 – Blackfeet Indian Tribe organized as both a political and business corporation.
1939 – T. F. McIlwraith, a Toronto Anthropologist, in a scientific assessment given in a conference of Canadian and U.S. Indian Officials, declared the era of government civilization of Native Americans, by adjusting their religious habits, livelihoods, and education, was finally at an end.
1941 – Museum of the Plains Indian opens to the public in Browning.
1942 – Minnie Spotted Woman, Blackfeet, becomes first Native American Woman to join Marines in WWII.
1943 – Chris Shade and others from southwestern Alberta form the Blood Indian Local Association.
1945 – Large scale logging begins on the reservation.
1951 – The revised Indian Act in Canada continued to prohibit Indians from drinking, their lands were not subdivided, and they were not given the federal vote.
1953 – Alcohol becomes legal on the Blackfeet reservation.
1955 – First bar opened on Blackfeet reservation.
1961 – BIA Educational Program reorganized.
1962 – Article II of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Blackfeet Tribe, defining tribal membership, was amended. Blackfeet Tribe restricts future enrollment to persons of 25% or more Blackfeet blood.
1964 – Two Medicine River Dam bursts killing 30 and leaving hundreds homeless.
1964 – Great Society programs provided temporary relief in certain areas of Blackfeet tribal life as schools were built, hospital facilities improved and adequate housing was made available.
1965 – Solicitors voice their opinion on Blackfeet cattle trespassing in Yellowstone National Park.
1968 – U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson’s message, “The Forgotten American” advocates Indian tribal self-determination and rejection of the Federal policy of termini nation.
1969 – Occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indians of all tribes.
1972 – Pencil factory begins business on the Blackfeet reservation.
1972 – Trail of broken treaties occupation of the Washington, D.C. BIA building.
1974 – The Blackfeet Tribe chartered the Blackfeet Community College.
1976 – U.S. Congress enacts the Indian Child Welfare Act.
1977 – Forrest Gerard confirmed as the first Indian Assistant Secretary of the Interior for the BIA.
1978 – Earl Old Person made the first chief of the Blackfeet Nation since Chief White Calf.
1978 – Glacier National Park considers fencing their border with the Blackfeet reservation, but the fencing was not completed due to Blackfeet complaints and at least one Congressional intervention.
1978 – Percy DeWolfe elected to State Senate.
1978 – Indian Child Welfare Act passed by Congress, granting Tribal Governments authority in child custody cases.
1979 – All Montana public school teachers on or near Indian reservations required to have a background in Native American Studies.
1981 – Renaming of Trick Falls to Running Eagle Falls.
1982 – There are 643 oil wells (producing 50 million barrels annually) and 47 producing gas wells, 90% of Blackfeet annual Income.
1983 – Ground is broken for the new Blackfeet Medical Center.
1983 – The First National Bank of Browning closes.
1983 – Piegan Institute established.
1985 – Cattle, but not horse, trespass was considerably reduced when the Blackfeet establish a protected area from St. Mary to Swiftcurrent Creek.
1987 – Piegan Institute created as language survival school to counteract loss of Blackfeet language. Total immersion teaching implemented, one of the first of its kind in the country.
1987 – Blackfeet National Bank, the first tribally-owned, federally chartered bank on an Indian Reservation is established.
1987 – The American Museum of Natural History returned Blackfeet human remains taken from Old Agency on Badger Creek.
1990 – Oil and gas was discovered along the Two Medicine and East Glacier borders.
1991 – Sergeant Earl Heavyrunner serves in Iraq during Desert Storm.
National Congress of American Indians organized.
1994 – Tribally controlled community colleges received Land Grant Status.
Heart Butte High School completed.
1995 – A 74-million-year-old baby T. Rex fossil, the smallest ever found, was discovered on the Blackfeet reservation.
1995 –Nizipuhwahsin Center founded for the preservation of the Blackfeet language.
1998 – Swift Fox (The companion of Nap’i) is reintroduced on the Blackfeet Reservation.

2001 – 15,441 enrolled Blackfeet members.
2003 – Glacier National Park Rangers continue to find signs of Blackfeet livestock trespass: cattle trails, cow patties, horsehair, and wallows, cut wire fences, loss of foliage, loss of wildlife, and “degraded aesthetics.”
2005 – Charging Home Park opened.
2006 – Glacier Peaks Casino opened.
2009 – New Browning High School opened.

Crow Tribal Timeline

The largest and oldest histories of Montana Tribes are still very much oral histories and remain in the collective memories of individuals. Some of that history has been lost, but much remains vibrant within community stories and narratives that have yet to be documented. Here is a brief timeline of important events in the history of the Crow Tribe.


Time Immemorial Creation Story –“First Maker” wandered the world that is covered with water. He sent the ducks down searching for what was below. The little duck returned first with a plant and then with mud. “First Maker and the ducks made the world. They made the sky, the plants, the trees and the animals. Then they divided the world into sections by placing water here and there.They made the stars, the sun and the moon.” (CrowTribal History, Little Big Horn College.)

Long-ago Times” – The ancestral tribe of the Crow live in the “Land ofForests and Many Lakes,” the upper Great Lakes area of Canada and the United States

1450 –The Crow Migration west. Fourteen groups of runners were sent out in different directions to search forfood. One returned with buffalo meat. The Tribe set out in this direction. During this time, Crow Chiefs No Intestines (No Vitals), and Red Scout fasted and prayed to receive guidance for their journey. Both received instructions.

Red Scout was given an ear of corn to plant, and advised to settle permanently, growing corn for sustenance. No Intestines was told to travel west toward the mountains and was given a pod of seeds to plant there – they were sacred and their use would be revealed to them.

When they reached the Missouri River country, they settled with the Mandan for some time. However, heeding First Maker’s instructions, No Intestines decided to continue the journey west. According to Crow oral history, this journey first led them to the region around Cardston, Alberta. Determining that the winters were too long, the band headed south, possibly going all the way to the Great Salt Lake. The journey then continued east and south through land that is now Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and possibly Missouri.

“Ancient lullabies and war songs mention an Arrow River (Red River of Oklahoma).” (Joe Medicine Crow. History: Crow. Ethnic Heritage Studies Program. Bozeman, MT: Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education, College of Education, Montana StateUniversity, 1982. p. 2)

Turning north and west again, they eventually came to the Big Horn country in southern Montana, which was to end up being their permanent homeland.

1700 – 1735 –The Crow acquired horses from Indians near Great Salt Lake.

1743 –French-Canadian traders, the La Verendrye brothers, met a group of Crow camped at the confluence of the Big Horn and Little Big Horn Rivers.

1805 – 1806 –The Crow met Clark at Pompey’s Pillar.

1825 –The first treaty, The Friendship Treaty, signed between the Crow and the U.S. Crow leader Long Hair was the tribal signatory, while Crow leader Sore Belly refused to sign.

1840-1850 –Smallpox epidemics found their way to Crow country. The tribe suffered a staggering population loss. The tribal population estimated at 10,000 in 1830, declined to approximately 2,000.

1851 –The Fort Laramie Treaty with the Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Shoshone, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara. The Crow boundaries identified 38 million acres as the tribe’s territory: “The territory of the Crow Nation, commencing at the mouth of Powder River on the Yellowstone; thence up Powder River to its source; thence along the main range of the Black Hills and Wind River Mountains to the head-waters of the Yellowstone River; thence down the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Twenty-five Yard Creek; thence to the head waters of the Muscle-shell River; thence down the Muscle-shell River to its mouth; thence to the headwaters of Big Dry Creek, and thence to its mouth.” Article V, 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

1864 –A battle with the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho who outnumbered Crow warriors 10 to 1, but the Crow were successful in turning the enemy party back. The location of this battle was near present day Pryor.

1865 –The Bozeman Trail was named after John Bozeman who used the trail as a shorter route to the Montana gold fields. Other miners and settlers followed. The trail cut through the Powder River country that was important hunting territory for many tribes, including bands of the Sioux nation. The Crow assisted the U.S. military in protecting travelers on the trail. In 1868, the Sioux negotiated the closing of the trail.

1868 –The second Fort Laramie Treaty reduced Crow lands to eight million acres.

1869 –A government agency was established in Crow country, on Mission Creek (Hide Scraper Creek).

1870 –The Crow were expected to move to the reduced territory as defined by the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

1872 –The agency was moved to the Rosebud River, near present day Absarokee, Montana.

1876 –The Crow continued to serve as scouts in the U.S. Military. Crow scouts were primarily responsible for preventing a more serious defeat of General Crook at the Rosebud Battle with the Lakota and Cheyenne.

1881 –100 Crow tribal members selected allotments. Provisions for individual tribal member allotments were outlined in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Land assignments of 320 acres were to be recorded in the “Crow Land Book.”

1882 –Tribal grazing leases began.

1882 –Congressional Act diminisheed Crow lands. The land cession brought $750,000 in compensation, to bepaid out annually at $30,000 by the Secretary of Interior. Funds were to be used for homes and farming and ranching needs.

1882 –Congressional Act for the Northern Pacific Railroad right-of-way provided the railroad with 5,084 acres for which $25,000 was provided in compensation – to be spent for the Crow at the discretion of the Secretary of Interior.

1883 –The government boarding school was moved to present day Crow Agency. Parents were threatened to send their children to school or their rations would be withheld. The first three Crow children were sent to Carlisle Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

1884 –The agency is moved once again, this time to its present site at Crow Agency.

1885 –Chief Plenty Coups made his first trip to Washington DC with demands for his people.

1886 –Catholic Jesuits founded St. Xavier Mission in Crow country. The school received government support in the way of school supplies and 160-acre land grant.

1889 –Crow Agency boarding school was built.

1890 – 1900s– Allotment

1891 –Congressional Act for cession of land on the western portion of the reservation – nearly two million acres. $940,000 was provided in compensation. The Secretary of the Interior directed expenditures of the money. Crow tribal members could hold allotments in the ceded portion.

1891 –Tribal grazing leases changed to a bidding system.

1891 –St. Charles Mission was founded near present-day Pryor.

1900 –Chief Plenty Coups made a second trip to Washington DC, demanding just payment for the Burlington Railroad right-of-way across the reservation and employment for Crow men.

1903 –The Annual Crow Fair was established.

1903 –A Baptist Home Mission School was started at Lodge Grass. It became quite popular, as it was a day school.

1904 –Congressional Act diminished Crow lands again, in the northern part of the reservation. The reservation land base was now its present size, 2.3 million acres. No lump sum compensation was given, but funds provided for a variety of items: horses, cattle, sheep, irrigation, fending, school buildings, etc.

1914 –Crow men answered the call to military service during World War I.

1915 –Senate hearings produced evidence of incompetent administration of the Crow Reservation.

1920 –The Crow Act sponsored by the Crow Tribe, allotted the remainder of the reservation into tracts to every enrolled member of the tribe. “Provisions of the Crow Act were the following: allotment of everything except the mountains, patents-in fee to competent Indians, conveyance to anyone could not exceed 640 acres of farming land or 1280 acres of grazing land, tribal roles, mineral rights are held by tribe, no more irrigation systems without Crow consent, no liquor, consolidation of the Crow Fund, enrollment and competency commission, land to State in return for admission of Crow children into public schools, revolving fund.”(Government. Ethnic Heritage Studies Program: Plains Indians, Cheyenne-Cree-Crow-Lakota Sioux. Bozeman, MT: Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education, College of Education, Montana State University, 1982.)

1920 – 40s –The Tribal Council divided into committees when necessary to address multiple issues. Examples of committees were: Schools, Oil, Hospital, Budget, Leases, Law ad Order, etc.

1921 –Chief Plenty Coups died. He left his land to form Chief Plenty Coups State Park.

1927 –At this time there were 11 public schools, four Catholic schools, and one Protestant school operating on the reservation.

1934 –The Crow Tribe rejected the Indian Reorganization Act.

1935 –The Indian Reorganization Act provides $190,000 for 50 projects on the Crow Reservation.

1948 –The Crow adopted their own model of a tribal Constitution.

1958 –The Tribe sold Yellowtail Dam site and reservoir area for 2.5 million dollars.

1961 –Constitution amended.

1962 –Court of Indian Claims awarded the Crow Tribe $10,242,984.70 as just compensation for lands taken.

1987 –A Supreme Court decision awarded millions to the Crow Nation in the Crow Severance Tax Case against the State of Montana.

1987–The Crow Tribe filed dereliction of duties and breach of trust responsibility suit against the U. S Government in regard to Section 2 of the 1920 Crow Allotment Act.

2002–The Crow Tribe passed a new Tribal Constitution.


Third Native American tribe OKs same-sex marriage

Buffalo Tribe Journey

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians are now the the third Native American tribe to legalize same-sex marriage.


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A Michigan gay couple are now married after their Native American tribe agreed to legalize same-sex marriage in a state where it’s officially banned.

Tribe member Tim LaCroix, 53, wed longtime partner Gene Barfield, 60, in Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians’ first same-sex ceremony, reports AP.

“I’m proud of my tribe for doing this and I love my husband,” LaCroix told NBC.

Barfield, who is not a tribe member, said: “To have Tim’s tribal community, which are an ancient people, welcome me into their midst and …that we are welcome as a married couple in a community, I’m just flabbergasted at how good this makes me feel.”

Dexter McNamara, chairman of the 4,600-member Native American tribe, read the couple’s vows in English during a cross cultural ceremony that included their tribal language and customs.

According to NBC, the ceremony featured a maple sapling, bent into a hoop with cedar, sage, tobacco and sweetgrass tied to it. The sweetgrass was lit, and the hoop was waved up and down over the couple to ward off evil spirits and bring in good spirits.

And with a kiss, the men became the first gay couple to marry in the state of Michigan.

Same-sex marriage is banned in Michigan but because of tribal sovereignty, neither state nor federal laws outlawing gay marriage can stop the marriage from being recognized.

“This is their turf,” Barfield told the newspaper. “They have their own government, they have their own police force, they have their own rules and regulations. They’re very big on respect, and for them to say to us, ‘We respect your relationship and your prerogative to define it as you choose,’ is really special'”

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is now the third Native American tribe to recognized same-sex marriage.

The Coquille Tribe in North Bend, Ore. recognized same-sex marriage in 2009 and the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish, Washington followed in 2011, reports The Advocate.