The Flathead Indian Reservation is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. The tribes are a combination of the Salish, the Pend d’Oreilles and the Kootenai. Of the approximately 6,800 enrolled tribal members, about 3,700 live on or near the reservation.
North of 1-90 between Missoula and Kalispell, fertile valleys and towering mountain peaks of northwestern Montana surround the Flathead Reservation. The reservation comprises over 1.2 million acres.
The principle sources of income for the tribes are derived from its timber industry sales and from revenues paid to the tribes through the co-license for the Kerr Dam facility with Montana Power Company. The tribes also own a full-service Best Western resort hotel in Polson named Kwataqnuk (which means “where the water leaves the lake”) and an electronics manufacturing facility, S&K Electronics, Inc.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
Flathead Indian Museum St. Ignatius, MT 406-745,2951
Native American crafts and artifacts are featured. They manufacture local native products.
Flathead Lake State Park, 406-752-5501
Flathead is the largest freshwater lake in the West. Points of interest on the lake include Wild Horse Island (Kwitkunk’mi in the Kootenai language) and six other scenic state units (five on the reservation): Finley Point, Elmo, Yellow Bay, Big Arm, Wayfarers and West Shore. Except for Wild Horse island, all units offer camping, fishing, boating and swimming.
Recreational rafting tours operate on both Flathead Lake and the Flathead River below Kerr Dam.
The National Bison Range/Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, Moiese, MT, (406) 644-2211 Approximately 500 readily visible bison roam nearly 20,000 acres of natural grassland. Visitors are also likely to see elk, bighorn sheep, antelope and deer on self-guided auto tours, year-round.
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and State Wildlife Management Area, Ronan, MT 406-644,2211
This area is one of Montana’s designated Wildlife Viewing sites. It is an exceptional wetland complex, prime for bird watching.
St. Ignatius Mission St. Ignatius, MT 406,745-2768
Established in 1854, the mission was built by Native Americans under the direction of Catholic missionaries. There are 58 original murals by Brother Joseph Carignano on its walls and ceiling. The Mission Range of mountains provides a striking backdrop for the mission