Tour Description

Journey to the Flathead Indian Reservation and the majestic Mission Mountains to explore the intersection of traditional culture and natural resource management. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are at the forefront of asserting sovereignty rights over natural resources. Along the People's Highway (aka US 93), check out the ecologically friendly features, including a dramatic wildlife overpass and underpasses that protect extensive wildlife corridors. Stop at the National Bison Range to learn about disagreements over how much authority the tribes should have in managing bison. A swing through the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge may yield sightings of migrating waterfowl, including reintroduced trumpeter swans. Other topics may include water rights negotiations, Flathead Lake and native fire management. Depart at 7:30 a.m., lunch included, $30 fee; Drive time — 3.5 hours. Register Now

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Land Owners, Land Stewards

Like most Indian Reservations in the United States, the Flathead Indian Reservation set aside a specific piece of land with a set of boundary lines. It encompasses 1.3 million acres in the lower Flathead River Basin. About a third is timbered, while wetlands, irrigated farms, ranches, six towns, and managed wildlife areas are spread throughout the area -- a patchwork of Tribal, allotted, state, federal and private fee ownerships.

The reservation was created by the 1865 Hellgate Treaty with the Salish and Kootenai speaking Indians. The 1904 Flathead Allotment Act placed Indians in unfamiliar territory. A few years later, in 1910, the Flathead Reservation was opened up to non-indian settlement.

More recently, however, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been purchasing land that had slipped from tribal ownership. Our tour speaker Clayton Matt will explain the area's land ownership history, which includes how CSKT has been working to purchase back some of those holdings. As we will see on our tour later that afternoon -- visiting the Ninepipe area and river restoration site -- these efforts are helping CSKT to boost their large-scale planning and management goals of the area's natural resource base.

Here are a few links for some supporting information about these perspectives and goals. Although we won't specifically be stopping at any forested sites, I have included some background on those types of issues as well:

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