Welcome to the Salish-Pend d'Oreille Culture Committee website.
- The Culture Committee would like to ask any one that has pictures at any of our cultural events and would like to share them to contact us. We will post pictures on this website and would love your help to share with the community.
A hunting party of young men would go up into hunting grounds. A leader would appoint two scouts to make a corral. The leader would give the directions and calls to let them know when to be ready and when to make moves. This way they would not waste any ammunition and you will have enough for another hunt. The animals were chased into the corral and only what was needed was taken. After the men killed enough meat for the camp they would then take all the meat back to camp. The women would slice and dry the meat and divide it equally among all the camps. They would pack their meat in their hunting packs and start for home.
Month of the Chokecherry
The chokecherry is a dark red or black berry grown on tall bushes. It is one of the foods the Salish - Pend d' Oreille people picked for their winter supply.
This is also the month for wild grapes. After it is picked it may be eaten fresh or mashed for drying. Elderberries were also picked during this month. September is usually the month our people gathered the last of the berries for the winter supplies.
Month of the Huckleberry
The huckleberries ripen in the month of August and some as early as late July. The SÉÇÛ grew in abundance years ago. If they are plentiful, we would pick enough to last all winter and spring.
Our people use cedar bark baskets made earlier in the year for holding the berries. The baskets are light-weight and easy to carry. Berries never get crushed in these baskets. Other berries that are also ripe at this time are foam berries (Indian Ice Cream Berries), thimbleberries, and raspberries. As we still do today, through out the entire month of August we are picking and gathering the berries.
This is the middle of the summer months when all the people get together to celebrate and give thanks that they survived the wars and the long hard winter. The people donate in many ways to celebrate at this time of year. Each day several Indian leaders would gather at the Chiefs tipi to discuss the activities for that day. After they had it all planned, the camp crier would ride among the encampment to announce each activity. The annual Arlee Celebration is usually the first weekend of this month.
Month Of Camas
This is usually the month when the Camas is ready to dig. The Camas is baked in the ground for three days with black tree moss. During this month the Salish People make bark baskets for berry picking. The bark is taken from Lodge pole and Cedar trees. We are always careful not to take too much off one tree so it won’t kill the tree. Tipi poles are cut during this month as well, they peel easier. When the wild-rose blossoms our people know that the buffalo are nice and fat. When the strawberries were ripe, the baby elk and deer were born.
May- Sp̓eƛ̓m Spq̓niʔ (Bitterroot Month)
When it was time to dig bitterroot, the Chief would select a group women to go ahead and test the root to see if it was ready. If it peeled easily, then it was ready. Before any bitterroot was dug, a ceremony had to be conducted. This ceremony was done to ask that the bitterroots and all plants for food or medicine be abundant and healthful. A feast of roots was collected by an appointed group. Following the ceremony, everyone is then free to dig all that they need.
People were asked not to dig any bitterroots before the ceremony. If it was dug before the ceremony, it caused the roots to be extra bitter and scarce. Sp̓eƛ̓m was always carefully peeled, cleaned and dried throughly before storing. The indian people sometimes traded bitterroot with other tribes for different types of food that were not found here.
Dates of Interest:
May 1: U.S. officially opens Flathead Reservation to non-indian homesteaders
May 5: 1909 U.S. reservation lands to non-indians for $1.25 to $7 per acre
May 10: Chief Big Canoe of the Pend d' Oreille died at the age 83 in 1882.
May 29: 1908, Congress amends the Flathead Allotment Act to allow non-indians to receive water from the Irrigation Project and for other purposes.
April- sčyál̓mn spq̓niʔ (The Month of the Buttercup)
This is the Spring(sqepc) month. The first thunder is heard this month. All the bears, snakes, gophers and other hibernating animals come out. Snč̓lé stories are no longer told, they have been put away until the next snow fall.
This is also the month when the sčyál̓mn (buttercup), q̓awxeʔ (yellow bells) and słt̓it̓ič̓i (little dog, pussy willows) are in bloom. The Indian people used the sčyál̓mn as medicine. The qawxeʔ was used as a fruit. It would be mixed with spéƛ̓m (bitterroot).
Dates of interest:
April 12: US congress opened the reservation to Homesteading in 1910.
April 18: In 1859, four years after the Hellgate treaty was signed, President Buchanan put the finishing touches on the treaty.
April 23: In 1904, Congress passed the law which divided the reservation into allotment with provisions to open the remaining lands for settlement. This is called the Flathead Allotment act.
April 27: town of Arlee was named for Chief Arlee
April 29: "Wise Chief" Michel, Chief of the Upper Pend d'Oreilles died in 1929
March- k̓ʷsixʷ spq̓niʔ (The Month of The Geese)
When the geese were spotted flying in from the south that was a good sign that the winter months were coming to an end. It was time to look ahead to warmer weather. During the first part of the month, some of the people would go to certain lakes to snag, and trap fish. The people would be preparing for their hunting trips, berry picking and root digging. This is also when ƛ̓čƛ̓a (Blackbirds) would be arriving.
Dates of interest:
March 2: 1945, Louis Charlo, private first class in the US.Marines, killed on Iwo Jima. Six days after he shares with three other Marines the distinction of being the first americans to scale Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima. He was killed in action on the same island at the age of 18. He was a descendant of chief Martin Charlo. Louis and three companions made history February 24, 1945 by reaching the highest point of 566 ft. Mount Surabachi two hours before a patrol marked its capture by planting an american flag there. Louis was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Antoine Charlo.
March 5: Chief Victor dies and his son Charlo succeeds him.
March 16: US. Government agrees to allot each indian 160 acres.
March 22: Fort Conah is founded as a Trading Post among the Flatheads
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