Flathead Indians

The Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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According to a website about Algonquian Tribes or The Center For Algonquin Culture, the Flathead or Salish People, are listed as speaking languages related to Algonquian. They are an admixture of Ojibway and non Ojibway. They probably have some degree of Chinese and Filipino blood. It is certain that most South Interior Salish speak a mixture of Algonquian and non Algonquian. Included as South Interior Salish are the Coeur d'Alene, Flathead, Kalispel, Spokan and Okanagan. They speak a language considered to be related to Algonquian. An isloated Salish People known as Pend d'Oreilles (pronounced as Pon Der Ray) also speak a language related to Algonquian.



According to William Clark, Minatare Soldiers were at war with them. They, the Minatares, are obviously Ojibway. In the 19th century, Ojibway historians wrote about a war they had been waging against the Flathead for an extremely long time. Minatare historians told Clark that the Flathead lived in one village on the west side of a large and rapid river, which runs from south to north. That be Flathead River. Their village was located along the foot of the Rocky Mountains on their west side. They also told Clark that this river (Flathead River which is a tributary of Clark Fork River) passess at a small distance from the Three Forks of the Missouri River. Clark Fork Rivers headwaters are located 5 miles northeast of Butte, Montana which is 45 miles northwest of Three Forks, Montana.



Minatare interpreters told Clark that the country between the mountains and the river (Flathead River) is broken (separated by river valleys) but on the opposite side of the river (Flathead River) is an extensive open plain, with a number of barren sandy hills, irregularly distributed over it's surface, as far as the eye can reach. We know where their village was located. That be Camas Prairie (aka Camas Valley) which is located along the west side of Flathead Reservation, between Perma and Niarada. Further north near Niarada, is the likely location of their village. Camas Prairie extends for some 30 miles from Perma to near Niarada. Just north of Lonepine is the location. That region yet has many barren and sandy hills. Elmo is located near that location or 12 miles east of Niarada. Kootenai People live there. However, we know Flathead People lived there in 1805. Flathead People did not live in Mission Valley which is 10 miles east of Camas Valley. Nor did Flathead People live in Bitterroot Valley. Camas Prairie or Camas Valley was under Flathead control. Camas Prairie is very different from Mission Valley. Mountains west of Flathead River (it's really Clark Fork River or Clark Fork River is really Flathead River) from just north of Arlee, to Ravalli, the National Bison Range, on up to just west of Polson, are largely treeless. It's an unusual feature in western Montana. Only southwest Montana has a larger area of mountains which are treeless. It's located south of Butte and Dillon. Mainly located in Beaverhead County and Madison County.



They did not provide a population estimate for the Flathead Tribes in 1805. Only that they lived in one village. Minatare interpreters told Clark that they were at war against the Flathead Tribes. Evidence Ojibway Soldiers had not subjugated the Flathead Tribes in 1805. Flathead People lived in a fortified village to avoid being subjugated by the Ojibway Military. Population of their village must have been quite large. Possibly in the 10,000s. They possibly used the trees in the mountains west of Flathead River, to build their homes and fortify their village and for other necessities. After depleting the mountains of their trees, deer and other wildlife, ate new tree growth. That process continues. They subsisted on deer, fish and other wild game. Camas was a major food source. When on the hunt for food, they had to be careful. From a location just north of Arlee, to the northwest border of Flathead Reservation west of Flathead River, was Flathead Territory. They had to be numerous and determined to stay free. Few Indians live in the west part of Flathead Reservation. There are only few Indian communities west of Flathead River or adjacent to Flathead River. They are Big Arm, Elmo and Old Agency.