Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Bitterroot Salish

The Bitterroot Salish (pronounced SAY-lish) are the Native Americans that were indigenous to the Bitterroot Valley. In the universal sign language used by Native Americans, the Salish were identified by pressing both hands on the sides of the head.  When early trappers saw other Native Americans to the east use that sign, they expected to find Indians with flattened heads when they traveled west. Despite this misconception, fur trappers and settlers called the Salish the Flathead Indians.  Today they are most often called by the name they gave themselves, the Salish, and they are part of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.  The name Flathead lives on, however, in the Flathead Reservation, the home of the confederated tribes, the Flathead River and in many historical references that use the old name.


  1. Happy birthday Cliff!

  2. It's a wonder they didn't end up called the "Squooshed Head" Indians.