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The People's Center Museum, Pablo

#83 of 100 in Museums in Montana
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Many thousands of years of Indian history have passed and numerous tribes with distinct cultures have thrived on vast aboriginal lands now divided and developed by non-Indian settlement. The Flathead Indian Reservation, or Flathead Nation, is now the homeland of several Salish speaking tribes; the Salish (of the Bitterroot Valley), the Pend d’Oreille (of the Flathead Valley), and descendants of the Kalispel, Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene .

The Kootenai Tribe with their own distinct language and traditions, is also part of the Flathead Nation, as well as one of seven Kootenai bands in the United States and Canada. The seven bands of the Ktunaxa Nation are distinguished by the geographic location they inhibited in the winter months. The bands currently reside in Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. The Ksanka or the Fish Trap People (Adkicqa) reside in the Dayton, Elmo, Big Arm and Nirada communities of Montana. The Wood Land People of St. Mary’s band in Cranbrook, British Columbia, is called the Aoamnigj. The Two Lakes People of the Columbia Lake Band at Windmere, British Columbia, are called Adkisonuknij. The Yadqannudki or The People of the Place Where the Rock is Standing (The lower Kootenai) reside in Creston, British Columbia. The gAdkaozahazxu or the Meadow People live in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The Tobacco Plains Band or the gAdkanuxunij live in Grasmere, British Columbia. The Kzitqatwumzat or the Not Shirt People (Upper Kootenai or Sushwap) hail from Ivermere, BC.

The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes

Salish - Pend d’Oreille - Kootenai

Land and water, they are the sources of life for those who live on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

For countless centuries, Native American people have depended upon this remarkable area for food, shelter and spiritual inspiration. The Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes have always been guardians of the territory stretching from central Montana to eastern Washington and north to southwestern Canada.

In 1855, the Hellgate treaty brought the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai tribes together in what is known as the Mission Valley. Ceding some 20 million acres of ancestral lands to the U.S. Government, the Tribes retained the over 1.2 million acre reservation as their homeland.

Even before the treaty was signed the Tribes had fought to preserve the rich cultural heritage that sustained their people for thousands of years. Struggling against total assimilation into the white culture in the years that followed, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai peoples began to fashion a unique blend of old and new that would perpetuate Tribal culture, preserve natural resources and provide economic well-being, for future generations.
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The People's Center Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
14 reviews
  • While planning our trip, this is a stop we had scheduled while on our way to the National Bison Range. It is a small museum, but being history buff's, we really enjoyed their presentation. The...  more »
  • This was an interesting stop along the way. Interesting artifacts. Was that impressed with the gift shop. Would have liked more authentic choices.  more »
  • The portraits alone make this a great stop. Tje proves history makes it an an important stop.
  • Awesome! They have a great inventory but most importantly really nice people!

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