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Indigenous Peoples' Literature



Coyote and the Monsters of the Bitterroot Valley
Coyote and the Rolling Rock (Blackfeet/Salish)
Coyote's Adventures in Idaho
Creation of the Red and White Races Great Flood

North American Indians of the Flathead, Salish, Pend d'Oreilles (named by Europeans because they wore large shell earrings) or Kalispel tribes in Montana were all visited by Lewis and Clark in 1805. A Post was established in Pend d'Oreille Lake in 1809 by the North West Company and another Post at Clark Fort called Salish House. In 1844, these Indians were converted by the Roman Catholic church. By 1855, all of the tribes in the area had surrendered their lands, except those around Flathead Lake, which became the Jocko Reservation.

In 1700 the Indian population of that area ranged from 5,000 to 6,500. Lewis and Clark estimated about 1,600 when they visited in 1805. Tribal names have been preserved in countries, cities, banks, lakes, mountains, and rivers in the Northwest region.

The Salish or Flatheads, belonging to the Salishan language family, early in the 1800s were driven from the Plains into western Montana by the Blackfeet tribes, who had begun to use guns and horses. The Flathead name applied because they left their hair up-standing, flat on top. Other bands of Crow, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Chippewa in the same area similarly "flattened their heads." Salish relations with whites were always friendly. Most of these tribes and bands settled on the Flathead Reservation in Montana and live there today.

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.