Challenge to Survive: History of the Salish Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation
CSKT E 99 .S2 C43 2008
By: Npustin Press

From Time Immemorial: Traditional Life Pre-1800 Unit 1
Challenge to Survive is designed to give a broad overview of the tribe’s histories. Living on the reservation I have always been curious about so many events or activities but never wanted to ask why or how come you do this or do that. This book has actually helped me understand the different seasons, tools, games, hunting practices, education, creation story and spirituality of the Salish peoples. I find many familiarities to my tribe. I find myself often wondering how one tribe differs from one to the other, with customs, traditions, stories, foods, clothing but then so many of our traditions and beliefs are similar or even the same at times. This is a great series on the history of the Salish Tribes and is designed so that anyone can read and be able to understand this beautiful and bountiful community we live in.

Three Eagles and Grizzly Bear Looking Up Period: 1800-1840, Unit 2
This unit covers the economic changes that occurred on the Flathead Indian Reservation with the introduction of horses, guns and European goods. The introduction of the horse was very beneficial to the tribe, it gave them the opportunity to travel, trade and hunt more effective and efficiently. It also gave other tribes and Europeans the opportunities to come to the Rocky Mountain front which then led them to headwaters of the Hudson. The Salish had the perfect trade route that brought many travelers to the Bitterroot to trade and barter goods, which in turn helped the Salish trade and barter for the things they needed and to get rid of their surplus of items and help the travelers coming through. This unit also talks about the religious and educational changes and in the early nineteenth century.

Victor and Alexander Period: 1840-1870 Unit 3
The Victor and Alexander Period brought new challenges to the tribe. During this time period the buffalo were getting harder and harder to find and the food resources were getting sparse. So the Salish and Pend d’Oreille needed to find allies who had ammunition and supplies to help them to continue to hunt and provide for their people. They had to reach out to other tribes and white traders to get their supplies which meant more people coming into the Bitterroot Valley. Which in turn meant the harder it was to find buffalo and food for their families. So the Salish and Pend d’Oreille started to get into the trading business. They would trade horses, goods, weapons, animal hides, and buffalo robes for old tired cattle that were coming through the area. Once they obtained the cattle they would brand the cattle with their brands and let them roam their traditional lands and get healthy. In turn they would use the cattle to help feed the tribe and also as a bargaining chip when it came to dealing with white settlers and government agencies. The trade of the cattle and bargaining also helped them become better farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs and it gave a chance to the buffalo, elk and deer in the area to start making a comeback.

Charlo and Michel Period: 1870-1910 Unit 4
This section looks at the first social and political changes impacting the tribe between 1870 and 1910. It was one of the biggest political challenges facing the Salish and Pend d’Oreille. There was conflict among the tribe, the white community and other surrounding tribes for dominance of hunting grounds and the surrender of their assets and independence. Tribal leaders accepted some of the change that had plagued their people, but had not been so accepting to other changes like Christianity, the expansion of ranches and farms, the loss of the buffalo, the teachings of English and mathematics, intrusion of the sovereign rights, the opening of the reservation. This unit delves into these conflicts and gives you the side of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille.

Originally posted August 2013