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. Although all of these sources were written or recorded by white people, used carefully, the documents provide important information about the experiences of the tribes.
Between 1845 and 1874, the Salish and Pend d’Oreilles faced continued attacks, property loss, and death from the Plains Indian tribes east of the Continental Divide. The population losses the western tribes suffered nearly exterminated them as independent tribal bodies.
The Salish and Pend d’Oreilles allied with and adopted warriors from other western tribes to replace some of their war losses. They also reached out for spiritual power from the Christian missionaries who established Saint Mary’s and Saint Ignatius missions. Another coping strategy was their alliance with the white men who invaded the Northern Rocky Mountains and fought the same Plains tribes. During this era, the Salish and Pend d’Oreilles also expanded their farms and horse and cattle herds to compensate for the declining plains buffalo herds.