About the Book
The documents collected in this book provide a window into a challenging and dangerous period in the history of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille Indians of western Montana. Since these are paper sources, they were all written or recorded by white people, but, used carefully, they provide important information about the experiences of the tribes.
Between 1845 and 1874 the Salish and Pend d’Oreille faced continued attacks, property loss, and death from the Plains Indian tribes east of the Continental Divide. The population losses suffered by the western tribes nearly exterminated them as independent tribal bodies.
The Salish and Pend d’Oreille allied with other western tribes and adopted warriors from other tribes to replace some of their war losses. They also reached out for spiritual power from the Christian missionaries who established St. Mary’s and St. Ignatius Missions. Another coping strategy was their alliance with the white men who invaded the Northern Rocky Mountains and fought the same Plains tribes.
The 1845 to 1874 period also saw the growth of Salish and Pend d’Oreille farms and horse and cattle herds to compensate for the declining plains buffalo herds.
Robert Bigart, Librarian Emeritus, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana.
Joseph McDonald, President Emeritus, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana.