July 13, 2012

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation


The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are a federally recognized tribe which includes the Bitterroot Salish, the Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai tribes. Their aboriginal territory exceeded 20 million acres at the time of the 1855 Hellgate Treaty.

These people never practiced head flattening, but the Columbia River tribes who shaped the front of the head to create a pointed appearance spoke of their neighbors, the Salish, as “flatheads” in contrast.

Official Tribal Name: Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation

Address:  42487 Complex Blvd., PO Box 278, Pablo, Montana 59855
Phone: (406) 675-2700 Ext. 1228
Fax:  (406) 675-2806

Official Website: 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Salish, meaning “the people.”

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Mispellings:

Name in other languages:

Region: Great Plains

State(s) Today: Montana

Traditional Territory:

The original territory of the Salish included western Montana, parts of Idaho, British Columbia and Wyoming. The Flatheads lived between the Cascade Mountains and Rocky Mountains. The Salish (Flatheads) initially lived entirely east of the Continental Divide but established their headquarters near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Occasionally, hunting parties went west of the Continental Divide but not west of the Bitterroot Range. The easternmost edge of their ancestral hunting forays were the Gallatin, Crazy Mountain, and Little Belt Ranges.

Confederacy: Salish 

Treaties: Hells Gate Treaty of 1855

Reservation: Flathead Reservation
Land Area:  1.317 million acres
Tribal Headquarters:  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

The tribe has about 6,800 members with approximately 4,000 tribal members living on the Flathead Reservation as of 2013

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Charter:  This tribe was the first to organize a tribal government under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   10, including the executive officers.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.


Language Classification:

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:






Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

Education and Media:

Tribal College:   Salish Kootenai College

People of Note:

Corwin Clairmont – artist and educator

Marvin Camel – boxer, WBC & IBF Cruiserweight Champion

Debra Magpie Earling – author

D’Arcy McNickle (1904 – 1977) – noted writer, Native American activist and anthropologist

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, artist

   Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s art to be exhibited in US Embassies

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe and Flathead Reservation timeline

In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes C to D
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