Before the nineteenth century, human habitation in the Flathead Valley was exclusive to the American Indians of Northwest Montana. This was a vital location for a variety of the tribes in the area. The Kalispel, Blackfeet, Shoshoni, and Nez Perce used the area seasonally, while the Salish, Kutenai and Upper Pend d'Oreille tribes called the Kalispell area home. This, and so much more, I learned at the Northwest Montana Museum when #1 Son and I visited in September 2020.
Much of the first floor is dedicated to Native Americans and pioneer Frank Bird Linderman, who made it his mission in life to preserve their vanishing history for future generations.
Linderman came west at 16, ending up in the Swan Valley as a trapper and trader. He became a trusted friend and champion of Montana American Indians. During his time in the legislature and afterwards, he worked tirelessly to establish and preserve the rights and basic human necessities of tribes from all over Montana.
Linderman was adopted into the Blackfeet, Chippewa, Crow and Kootenai tribes. All of the American Indian artifacts in the exhibit were personal gifts from friends and acquaintances.
Today, Linderman is best known as a highly acclaimed author; his most remembered books are those that directly preserve American Indian culture, including biographies of notable American Indians such as Crow Chief Plenty-coups and Medicine Woman Pretty-shield.
Except during the winter, most camps moved every few days, 10 - 15 miles at a time. This was beneficial for sanitation, and moving to new locations ensured ample supply of wood and grazing for horses. And if there were any hostile tribes in the area, it kept them guessing!
I was fascinated by this rough map of Montana, detailing early Indian tribal distribution. There is great diversity among the tribal nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.
The subsistence patterns of Tribal people were built on hunting, fishing and gathering. Fields of edible roots and berries were harvested in season; fish were abundant in lakes and streams; in the forests and meadows were deer, elk, moose and small game. Forays were made east of the mountains to hunt buffalo. A rich oral history and deep spiritual tradition guided daily life with a respect for each other, the environment, seasons, plants and animals.
Toward the end of the American Indian exhibit, a Flathead Valley Timeline caught my eye. Circa 12,000 BC, the glaciers recede, opening the Flathead Valley to human habitation. Circa 1,400 AD, the Kutenai and Salish people are in the Tobacco and Flathead Valleys. In 1855, a reservation was established in the Mission Valley, and settlement of the Flathead by white men commenced. By 2010, the population of Flathead Valley reached 91,000. Editorial note: by July 2019, that number expanded to 103,806, a 14% increase - it's safe to say growth is accelerating rapidly! (all pictures will enlarge if clicked on)
And, since Spousal Unit and I both work part time at the ski resort, I was intrigued to read this history.
My Dear Neighbor Friend used to work at the Cornelius Hedges Elementary School, and I occasionally went to the school to assist with some of her students. I was thrilled to see this information on the school's namesake!!!
And maybe it was also a coincidence that, until 1997, this mountain lion lived north of Marion, Montana (we live 10 minutes from Marion)?
During our visit, the museum had a special exhibit - "Gold Dust - Montana's Haunted Landscapes". On July 28, 1862, John White struck gold at Grasshopper Creek and kicked off the Montana Gold Rush. Hidden beneath the Treasure State was an unbelievable amount of gold, silver, copper and other precious metals. Helena was once home to the most millionaires per capita in the US. Yet with any boom comes a bust.
The photos in this exhibition document the relics of the Rush. Some have odd colorations because they were taken on expired Kodak Gold 35 mm film. And each is printed on a wood panel, which will deteriorate in a manner similar to these structures. So creative on the part of the photographer (I didn't note the name, unfortunately).
Sometimes, the building housing a museum is an artifact in its own right, and that is the case with this museum. Construction of this Richardsonian Romanesque building began in 1893. It was the first public building in town with indoor plumbing and electric lights. It was created as the Central School for Kalispell. By 1989, as shown in the timeline below, Kalispell had outgrown this spectacular building.
On December 15, 1997, the Kalispell City Council voted 5 - 4 to renovate the Central School and spend $2.5 million to turn it into a museum.
The final exhibit we saw was "Sand Monkeys, Tie Hacks and River Pigs,", the story of the Timber Products Industry in Northwest Montana.
It would take another post to cover this subject thoroughly - just look at the amount of information on this one wall!
The world of the Flathead Valley has certainly changed since 1,400 AD, but it is encouraging to know that young people are involved in local history, and giving back to the community.
Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Tuesday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.