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The Ditch, The Dam, and The People
by Claywoman   

Last edited: Monday, October 20, 2003
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2003

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A case study of the Kerr Dam on the Confederated Salish and Kootanai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. This is my senior theses and will, eventually, work into my Master's theses.


The Kerr Dam is an impressive sight. Pristine water falling to the river below from Flathead Lake makes for beautiful scenery. The dam itself is an impressive structure and provides hydro-electric power to the tribe as well as to other areas of the Pacific Northwest. The dam towers 204 feet high and 450 feet in length on top. It contains 85,000 cubic yards of concrete and provides 190 megawatts of power.#

These are the facts, bare and minimum; however, they do not tell you about what the dam means to the tribe itself how the land was used and fought over. The building of this dam completed the allotment process started during the early 1900s - a process that devalued Indian land holdings when the federal government completed the Flathead Irrigation system.

By the time the dam was approved by Congress, the Power Commission had undergone a tremendous change, enduring charges of corruption, and greed. The Engineer Walter H. Wheeler became the focus of a investigation during the time when decisions concerning the Salish/Kootanai reservation were being made. What impact did the discord in the Power Commission have on the awarding of the original contract to the Rocky Mountain Power Company? When did Montana Power Company get the contract for the start or the finishing of the dam itself? Who was Frank M. Kerr, and why was the dam named after him? Why was John Collier so interested in the dam itself? Why were the Kootanai people upset about the placement of the dam? Why would the Indian Commissioner and the Bureau of Indian Affairs not allow the Indians on the reservation to hire a lawyer to fight the building of the dam through the courts? These questions are paramount to the structure of this paper as they are to the history of the people and the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 - a treaty which gave the rights to the waters and the waterways to the Indians. But, history has proven, treaties were written to be broken.

In 1855 the tribes gathered with Governor Issac Stevens, the appointed Indian agent of Montana territory, to sign a treaty guaranteeing the Indians a reservation in the Bitterroot mountains. Although a reservation was considered in the Jocko Valley, the Salish were reluctant to leave their home in the valley below the Bitterroot Mountains. Like most treaties, this one had controversy. Unlike most, this treaty was proven in the federal court system to be a forgery. The Salish argued that the lands of the Jocko Valley were not where they wanted to live, and that they were given the impression they could stay on the lands they now possessed. Article 11 of the treaty states:

ARTICLE 11. It is, moreover, provided that the Bitter Root Valley, above the Loo-lo Fork, shall be carefully surveyed and examined, and if it shall prove, in the judgment of the President, to be better adapted to the wants of the Flathead tribe than the general reservation provided for in this treaty, then such portions of it as may be necessary shall be set apart as a separate reservation for the said tribe. No portion of the Bitter Root Valley, above the Loo-lo Fork, shall be opened to settlement until such examination is had and the decision of the President made known.# See appendix I for complete treaty.

In August 22, 1872 The Bitterroot Flathead chiefs held a conference with James Garfield, appointed special commissioner to carry out President Grant's November 14, 1871 Executive Order to relocate the Bitterroot Flatheads to the Jocko reservation. The government had stopped making treaties in 1871, so Garfield sought to negotiate a contract with the Indians. The conference began at a camp near the St. Mary's Mission but moved on August 24 to the Jocko Valley, near today's town of Arlee. Garfield found the chiefs committed to staying in the Bitterroot. Chief Charlo (Salish) produced his copy of the Hellgate Treaty, signed by his father, Victor, seventeen years before. After being promised the government would pay them for their Bitterroot farms and on their new Jocko farms would fence fields, build frame houses (twelve by sixteen feet with a chimneys and windows) on their new Jocko farms, Chief Arlee and Chief Adolph signed their marks to the contract. Chief Charlo did not. When the contract was printed for the commissioner's annual report, Charlo's mark appeared as though he had signed the original document. Charlo believed his mark had been forged, and this further embittered him toward the white people. In December, 1873, the Bitterroot Valley was opened to patenting by white people who had taken up occupancy before June 5, 1872. Congressional Act providing for the Removal of Flatheads from the Bitterroot.#

Unfortunately, this was not the case, they were ordered to move, Chief Charlo refused and for thirty years, the Salish clung to their mountains before starvation forced them to move to the Jocko Valley. October 17, 1891 At seven in the morning, Chief Charlo and his band of followers began their trip from the Bitterroot Valley to the Jocko Agency on the Flathead Reservation. The march consisted of about 250 people, four hundred horses, and a few cows. Streams in the Bitterroot Valley were bridged with steel, the fields were crossed by telegraph wires, and brick buildings dotted the landscape. The trip took two days. Charlo demanded that a half-breeds allotment be given to him, but Agent Ronan refused. By the end of November, homes had been built for the new arrivals, all but two with cooking stoves. Most whites believed that the Flathead Reservation included far more land than the small bands of Indians would ever use.#

The treaty itself promised the Indians water rights not only on the reservation but off the reservation. As part of Article 3 of the treaty stipulates:

The exclusive right of taking fish in all the streams running through or bordering said reservation is further secured to said Indians; as also the right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed places, in common with citizens of the Territory, and of erecting temporary buildings for curing; together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and pasturing their horses and cattle upon open and unclaimed land.#

The Flathead Reservation encompasses 1,245,000 acres of land, and it is sixty miles long and is forty miles wide north to south. The Northern boundary bisects Flathead lake and the Eastern boundary is the Mission Mountains. Western boundary is the foothills of the Bitterroot mountains. The differing tribes claimed lands in differing parts of the reservation. The Kootanai near their sacred areas to the north, the Salish down the middle and the Kalispell and Pend Oreille wherever they found land to settle. The Kootanai lived on this land since before contact.

Not happy with having to share their land with the Salish, the Kalispell, or the Pend O Reille Indians, they stayed as a tribe in the corner of the reservation while embracing their traditional sacred “place of the falling waters.” This is the area where the lake spills out into one river in a spectacular waterfall. Shaped like a horseshoe, this waterfall was most impressive. In the video, The Place of the Falling Waters, produced by the Salish and Kootanai College in Pablo, Montana, they found dated photos of the waterfall and it showed just how breathtaking and spiritual this phenomena was to the Indians.

In the late 1800s the people of the Kootanai, Salish and Pend O’Reilles still lived in the natural world and believed in spiritual powers. According to Tony Mathies, a Kootanai elder at the time of the filming, the people “picked chokecherries, bitterroot, camas, and took game and lived together as tribes.”# Larry Parker, also a Kootanai said the Indians “saved for the future,” and Louis McDonald a Flathead/Nez Perce Indian, said this was a time when, “we used all of the animal, there was no waste.”# All of these elders spoke of contact by the federal troops as an invasion and the idea that with invasion came the attitude about Christian religion better then traditional belief.

When allotment occurred the best land opened to settlement, communal farming was outlawed, and within months of allotment, all the surplus land was gone. With settlement, water issues started with the Federal Government implementing the Flathead Irrigation System proposed by Congressman Dixon. With this irrigation system, the non-Indian settlers getting most of the water and the Indians lost their lands. When it was proposed, the irrigation system was to bring water to farms without irrigation with the white settlers and the Indians paying a like amount. However, by the time the ‘ditch’ got to the farms of the white settlers, it was the middle of the depression and money was scarce, so the only people to pay were the Indians.

It was their belief from what was told to them, the water flowing into the canal and then allotted to the Indians, it would be free. However, this was not the case. Many Indians lost their land because they owed for water rights and so much per acreage foot. Sometimes this fee was less then a dollar an acre, but sometimes over $100 per acre as there was no way to anticipate what the fee would be from month to month or year to year. This canal also disturbed the water table Therefore, the wells they dug, useless.

Then in 1920, came a famine and a drought. Both white and Indian people starved. The Rocky Mountain Power company proposed a dam at the upper Flathead River. It has been recorded that the Indians tried to fight the building of the dam. Both Chief Charlo (Salish) and Chief Koostahtah (Kootanai) met with Frank M. Kerr to talk about how this was not a good place for a dam. They also traveled to Washington D.C. to speak to Congress in the hope of stopping this project. The chiefs and the Indian delegates thought that Kerr was on their side against the Rocky Mountain Power Company’s proposed dam. However, Kerr was actually working behind the scenes to get approval for the dam. Rocky Mountain Power Company is a subsidiary of the Montana Power Company which in turn is an Electric Bond and Share Corporation property.#

Appearing in the New York Times starting in March of 1930 and ending in May of the same year, there were several articles on the project and the controversy over the awarding of the original contract. A W. H. Wheeler accused Senator Wheeler of Montana of blocking his bid for the contract in favor of the Rocky Mountain Power Company. W. H. Wheeler made a bid for develop five sites of which the dam on the Flathead reservation was one, for $18,000,000.#

On April 11, 1930, John Collier secretary of the Indian Defense Association, Inc., testified before the Senate Indian Committee saying that the money returned to the Indians would be “$104,400 annually which was $20,600 less than a War Department proposal which was withdrawn.”# John Collier sided with the Indians and knew they would not win in court against this decision, the only thing he could do was to make sure the Indians won some concessions such as receiving $140,000 for the use of the dam site, and job preference for the Indians during construction. Although they received job preference, the Indians were paid $.45-$.50 per hour. This may seem to be a small amount of money by today’s standards, but this was considered a great deal of money during the Depression, when many thousands of men were unemployed. The Indian men also worked the most hazardous jobs with no safety measures in place. This changed when word came down from federal authorities that if ten men died, Montana Power would lose the contract. Nine men died, in two different rock slides and three cave-ins. One of the dead was a Chief’s son.# While work continued on the dam, Washington is wracked with scandal that includes problems within the Power Commission and Senators questioning its practices.

The next day the New York Times reports the Montana Power Company rejected a proposal by Secretary Wilbur to develop the other sites on the Flathead Reservation but negotiations for the development of the dam were still ongoing. Previously, Senator Walsh supported W. H. Wheeler’s bid for the contract but since changed his mind since no development of the dam site had begun. “The Montanan insisted that he held no \brief for the power company, but said he was determined that the sites should no longer lie idle.”# Senator Walsh also attacked Benjamin Marsh, secretary of the People’s Lobby for remarks made during a senate hearing the previous day.

Marsh stated that the “Senator was acting like a lobbiest for the Montana Power Company would act.” Marsh went further in stating that the Montana Senator opposed his introducing a senate resolution to halt any permits for development of the dam site until an investigation could be made.

Senator Frazier of North Dakota stated in the New York Times, dated April 19, 1930, “that the Rocky Mountain Power Company is the ‘dummy and child’ of the Montana Power Company, is affiliated with the Anaconda Copper Company and ‘linked up’ with the alleged power trust headquarter in New York City.”# Senator Frazier continues on to show that Montana Power wanted to pay only 32% of the total power while W. H. Wheeler proposed using all of the sites at a higher fee for the horsepower.#

Another voice heard to question the Power Commission’s decision to accept the bid from Rocky Mountain power was Norman Thomas, Socialist Leader. He felt until the reorganization of the Federal Power Commission was complete, no contracts should be issued. He also criticized Senator Walsh of Montana for his stance of insisting that Montana Power Company be awarded the contract, since he once worked as the lawyer for Anaconda Copper Company and may have a conflict of interest. He wrote in a letter to Senator Wagner which also concerned Senator Walsh is reprinted here:
“You have heretofore shown a contain interest in the power situation especially the use of water-power sites. Which prompts me to address to you this letter of inquiry concerning the Flathead River controversy. Flathead River power concerns peculiarly the Indians in whose territory the power sites are and the State of Montana. It does not concern them exclusively, for it is a national problem.

I have read with much interest Senator Thomas Walsh’s discussion of the situation in the Congressional Record for April 11. In it he quotes the first two letters of an exchange of letters between him and me. I do not think that his letters to me or his longer speech clear up the situation. The facts, as I understand them, are these:

‘The Flathead River is among the most valuable undeveloped power resources in America. It offers more primary power than Muscle Shoals.

Two proposals for the development of this power have been made to the Federal Power Commission. The one which is most likely to be accepted by the commission is that of the Rocky Mountain Power Company, a dummy for the Montana Power Company, which is closely affiliated with Anaconda Copper Company and is subsidiary to the Elctric Bond and Share Company, one of the five holding companies which dominate the power of the country.

The Electric Bond and Share Company according to the testimony before the Federal Trade Commission, made 105 per cent on its expenses for administering subsidiaries in 1927.

It is charged that the Montana Power Company has now undeveloped power resources in Montana and it wants the Flathead site principally to keep them from possible competitors.

The other applicant, Mr. Wheeler (Walter H. Wheeler, a Denver business man) wants, if surveys warrant, to push full development of the power sites and has offered the Indians a better royalty than the Montana company. Indeed, it has been charged that there has been a lot of fraudulent work done in behalf of the Montana company among the Indians.

I am not arguing Mr. Wheeler’s case. I do not know the nature of his financial backing. I am interested primarily in the public control of power sites to be developed under a scheme of public operation.

It is suspiciously inconsistent for Senator Walsh or any other Senator to talk in a political campaign about hanging on to power sites and then, on whatever pretext, complacently accept the possible surrender of one of the most important sites to a unit of the power trust. This is more extraordinary since it is in the face of what may be a better offer for a lease.

It is idle to say that the Power Commission has heard Mr. Wheeler’s case. The Cabinet officers composing it were so busy that none or only one of them attended even a majority of the hearings. The serious charges affecting the secretary of the commission necessarily reflect on the commission.

Neither Senator Walsh nor any one else has made any case for hurried action under those circumstances. What possible harm can there be done by delay pending reorganization of the commission and pending possible preparation of a plan for public development of power on the Flathead River?

I raise these questions because I think it is only the light of publicity that may prevent the Federal Power Commission from giving away for a song another of our natural resources.”#

This was just the beginning of the investigation into the Power Commission and Senator Walsh of Montana. However, this was not the end of Montana Power Company’s hold and lease of the dam.

As reported in the New York Times on Sunday March 23, 1930, W. H. Wheeler was to speak before the Senate Indian Committee on charges he made concerning the Federal Power Commission and unnamed officials of the Indian Bureau concerning the lease. The commission differed greatly on who should obtain the lease.#

On Sunday, May 25, 1930, it was announced in the New York Times, the Indian Bureau announced the final awarding of the Flathead dam site to the Rocky Mountain Power Company with work to start immediately on the dam. Admitting there was complicated questions regarding conflict of interest to the Indians, the white settlers, and the power company, the Indian bureau felt it came up with a solution that would give the Indians more revenue then expected and would be good for the tribes.

The article continues to laud Assistant Commissioner Scattergood as having the economic background to do what is good for the Indians and protecting his interests. The spokesman for the Indian bureau feels that “…a generation hence the Indians will be better able to look after their own interests, or the States may be less indifferent to Indians’ rights, it is fortunate that the suggested policy of turning Indian affairs over to the States has not been pushed.” The spokesman goes on to say further, “But as so long as the Indian Bureau can be administered by men of courage and unselfishness, and at the same time Congress is willing to make the necessary appropriations, there can be no doubt that the Indians are best off with Uncle Sam as their trustee.”#

The last newspaper article concerning the dam issue concerns the Federal Power Commission’s refusal to hear the petition by W. H. Wheeler to overturn the issuance of the license to Rocky Mountain Power Company. It was denied, presumably because it was illegal to do so. The commission was to prepare an answer if W. H. Wheeler decided to take this action to court.#

Just because the papers wrote nothing more on the case, magazines such as The New Republic took up the cause and asked further questions of the various commissions and committees. Not actually wanting to endorse either the Rocky Mountain power Company or W. H. Wheeler, the magazine did question the advisability of awarding a major contract until the reorganization of the Power Commission was complete. Although the magazine did admit that Scattergood got far more for the Indians that any other contract, its concern is with the power company itself and the State. This editorial questions whether or not, further down the road, if greed for larger profits from both the State and the power company might push aside the agreement and thus raise costs onto the public.#

John Collier, Secretary, American Indian Defense Association, Inc., answered the above editorial with a long explanation of why this deal looks good for the Indians on the surface, but in the long run, it allows Montana Power Company to hold a monopoly within the State of Montana. Collier also replied that this would allow them to charge what they wanted - at inflated prices - to the Indians and settlers alike. The bulk of the water goes to the irrigation system and the bulk of the power to Montana.# Collier writes how Montana Power Company owns a monopoly within the state but is federally sanctioned. He relates how a low sale from a “dummy to the dummy’s owner is established by the license. You (editorial in the New Republic) neglect to state that the license (contravening Section 10, Paragraph h of the federal Power Act) requires that this low sales price shall be exclusively a sale to the power trust--to the Montana Power Company. No other customer, not even an independent industry or a municipality, is to be permitted, by this strange Article 36 of the license, to buy one horsepower of the Flathead energy, or to take advantage of one penny of the reduced sales price. I disregard the sale of 15,000 horsepower at a low rate to the irrigation district, part of the consideration paid by the company for the licesne. All other power is required to be sold to the Montana Power Company, and all users of the Flathead power much buy at the Montana Power Company’s inflated resale price.”#

On April 7, 1937, just before the dam was completed, Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, appears on the pages of The New Republic in the section, “Washington Notes.” Apparently Senator Wheeler was, at one point, a major supporter of Roosevelt when he ran for president, but was ignored by Roosevelt when selections were made for the Cabinet. The disagreements began in 1933 when Rocky Mountain Power Company defaulted on its loans to the government.

Many supporters of the New Deal felt the government should take over the dam and the resulting power, but to do this, “the Justice Department had to sue the company on behalf of the Department of Interior.”# At the writing of this article, the Justice Department had taken no action. Wheeler wanted the government to take over the dam’s operations and was frustrated that no action was taken. Wheeler felt “he stumbled into a case of governmental misconduct comparable to the Harding scandals.”# John Collier now the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, went to the Attorney General who claimed no knowledge of the situation, promised to look into the matter and did. The lease was canceled.

Because the Department of the Interior was committed to two large hydro-Electric projects - Bonneville, and Grand Coulee - it felt it could not undertake another project. It then leased the dam to Electric Bond and Share system. Senator Wheeler felt that John Collier overstepped his bounds by going to the Attorney General. Wheeler and the Justice Department had a well known hostile relationship since Harding’s administration when Wheeler headed the Senate committee investigating “Mr. Harry M. Daugherty and Mr. Daugherty used the Justice department to investigate Mr. Wheeler.”#

This is also the start of the Supreme Court case involving the legality of the New Deal. Meanwhile. the little dam was built. It was completed in 1939 and dedicated to the people of the tribes and the State of Montana. Through all the wrangling in Washington, the wants of the Indians was ignored. The trip to Washington D. C. for the two chiefs was futile and their delegation was ignored.

The Kootanai wanted the site of the dam moved away from their sacred area. In the video, “The Place of the Falling Water,” the producers described what that area looked like before the dam. The Indians felt that the dam could be built upstream, thus saving the sacred waterfall that surrounded the island midstream and made the water come alive. When the dam was completed, during the dedication, Secretary of State Ickes addressed the two chiefs standing before him in full regalia, feathered headdresses, buckskin, and somber looks on their faces. Ickes talked about how wonderful it was to see such cooperation between the two people. The looks on the faces of these two chiefs belied this statement. Looking uncomfortable, knowing they were there only for ceremonial purposes, these two men looked somber and somewhat angry. Some of the comments of those who were there during the building and the dedication ceremony told what it was like before the dam was build. Joe Eneas said “ the water use to go in a circle. It was kind of a hole and fishing was good.’#

“During World War II things changed fast,” according to Mary Findley, “After the war, all changed. It use to be so nice.”#

The dam supplies power to the reservation and to the surround areas. The Indians got their power but it cost them in lives lost during the construction and in the traditional way of life. During construction on the dam, more then 1200 men were employed. Some felt the dam was an asset because it provided jobs when many thousands of men were out of work. However, it also destroyed a part of the old ways. It brought settlers onto the reservation and took more land away from the Indians, pushing many of them onto non-productive lands. The dam affected fishing, as the river water flowed slower, warming the water and the fish therein died. Fish also died because they had no way of swimming upstream to the lake, either. Because water releases were unpredictable, lands downstream of the dam became uninhabitable and those who lived on the banks of the river were forced to move to new home sites. The majority of these people were Indian and the lands they received in return were not as fertile nor productive.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the tribes enjoyed a resurgence of the traditions, language, dance and pride in being Indian. The Indians tried to get control of the license. However, a movement by non-Indian residents feared it would give the Indians too much power. In 1980 the Indians did a camp-in at the dam to show unity. They protested that according to the agreement, the Indians were to receive “free” electricity. However, they were proven wrong. In 1984 they again petitioned Washington D. C. to get the Federal License to the dam. This time they won. They were offered the license to the dam in 1999. However, they decided to take over the license and the dam in the year 2015 so they could train people to operate the dam and completely understand the operations..

Meanwhile, Montana Power Company will continue to pay the tribe over $9,000,000 a year. The Indians are using that money to find solutions to environmental issues pertaining to the dam. What will happen in the future? Will the tribes take over the upkeep and operation of the dam? Right now, that is being debated in council and will continue to be debated until that day in 2015 when the tribe becomes the owner of a large concrete dam - their symbol of allotment and settlement.

Primary Sources
“A Thirty Million Dollar Indian Horsepower Saved.” American Indian Life. Bulletin No. 8 (May 1927) 4-5

“Are Our Treaties with the Indians ‘Scraps of Paper?’ “ American Indian Life. Supplement to 11 (December 1927-February 1928) Bulletin (Probably written by John Collier) 1-16

Collier, John. To Members of Tribal Councils, Indians, Reservations. Indians at Work. II, 21 (August 15, 1935), 6-9

Letter to the Editor, “The Flathead Water-Power Lease.” The New Republic (August 20, 1930) 20-21

“Confiscation of Indian Water Power Prevented.” American Indian Life. Bulletin 11 (December 1927-February 1928) 3-4

Editorial. “Flathead--A Power Yardstick.” The New Republic (November 11, 1930) 86- 87

LaPointe, Samuel. “Camp Construction at Flathead (Montana)” . III, 12. (February 1, 1936), 48

Shea, P.H. “Some Good Trails at Flathead.” Indians at Work. III, 3. (September 15, 1935), 48

“A Good Record at Flathead.” Indians at Work. VII, 21 (August 15, 1935), 49

“Plans for Organizing Under the Wheeler-Howard Act at Flathead.” Indians at Work. III, 1 (August 15, 1935), 51

“Fire on Flathead Reservation.” Indians at Work. III, 4. (October 15, 1935) , 48

Vorse, Mary Heaton. “From Flathead to Blackfeet.” Indians at Work. VIII, 3 (September 15, 1935), 31

“Election at Flathead.” Indians at Work. III, 6. (September 15, 1935), 23-24

“Secretary Ickes Signs the Flathead Constitution and By-Laws” Indians at Work. III, 7 (November 1, 1935), 18-19

“The Flathead Power Struggle Nears Its Hoped for End.” American Indian Life. 15. (January 1930) Bulletin. 21-22

The Flathead Power Site Contest Record Made Complete.” American Indian Life. Bulletin 16 (July 1930) 11-18

“Washington Notes: Senator Wheeler Turns Conservative--Messrs. Kramer, Cummings, Colier and the Indians--On Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees.” The New Republic. (April 7, 1932), 261-262

Newspaper Articles

Collier, J. “Charges Favoritism in Award of Flathead Power Site.” New York Times, April 11, 1920, 13:4.

Editorial. “Granting of Flathead Power Site to Rocky Mountain Power Company.” New York Times, May 25, 1930, 6:4

“Federal Power Commission Denies Petition For Rehearing of Flathead Power Project Proposals.” New York Times, June 21, 1930, 20:2

“Mountain Power Company Declines Secretary Wilbur’s Proposal for Development of Flathead Site.” New York Times, April 12, 1930, 22:4

“N. Thomas Protests Against Granting Lease, Pending Proposed Reorganization of Federal Power Commission.” New York Times, April 20, 1920, II, 1:3

Senator L. J. Frazier, Chairman of Indian Affairs Committee Asks Flathead Site to be Awarded to W H. Wheeler” New York Times, April 19, 1930, II 1:3

Senator Wheeler Opposes W. H. Wheeler’s Application for Power sites, Montana Power and Rocky Mountain Power Also Bidders.” New York Times, March 26, 1930, 37:4

Wheeler, W. H. “Bidder for Flathead Power Sites Will be Heard by Senate Committee in Connection with Charges Against Federal Power Commission and Indian Affairs Office.” New York Times, March 23, 1930, 3:3

Primary Source Collections

Collier, John. “John Collier Papers 1922-1968.” (Microform, Sanford, N.C. Microfilming Corporation of American. 1980)


Turney-High, Harry Holbert. The Flathead Indians of Montana. (Menasha, Wis., American Anthropological Association 1937)

United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Letters Received by the Office of the Secretary of War Relating to Indian Affairs, 1880- 1923. (Washington D. C., National Archives and Records Service, 1959)

Secondary Sources


Bigart, Robert and Woodcock, Clarence. In the Name of the Salish & Kootenai Nation: The 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the Origin of the Flathead Indian Reservation. (Pablo, Montans:Salish Kootenai College Press; Seattle: Distributed by University of Washingto Press, c1996)

Chalfant, Stuart A. Aboriginal Territories[by] Stuart A. Chalfant. Economy and Land Use by the Indians of Western Montana [by] Carling Malouf. Report Concerning Lands Ceded to the U.S. [by] Merrill G. Burlingame. (New York, Garland Pub. Inc., 1974)

Kelly, Lawrence C. The Assault on Assimilation: John Collier and the Origins of Indian Policy Reform. (Abuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, c 1983)

Kvasnicka, Robert M., and Viola, Herman J. Editors. The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1924-1977. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, c1979

Philp, Kenneth R. John Collier’s Crusade for Indian Reform, 1920-1954. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, c 1977)

Ronan, Peter. History of the Flathead Indians. (Minneapolis, Minn., Ross & Haines [1965] ) Note: First published in 1890 under title: Historical Sketch of the Flathead Indian Nation from the year 1813 to 1890.


Hoxie, Frederick E. “Exploring a Cultural Borderland: Native American Journeys of Discover in the Early Twentieth Century” The Journal of American History. Vol. 79, No. 3. (December 1992) p. 969-995


Trosper, Ronald Lloyd. “The Economic Impact of the Allotment Policy on the Flathead Indian Reservation.” (Ph.D Dissertation, Harvard University 1974)

Brockman, Charles. “The Modern Social and Economic Organization of the Flathead Reservation. (University of Oregon, Ph.D., 1968) Anthropology


Bigcrane, Roy and Smith, Thompson. "The Place of the Falling Waters.” (SKC Media/Public TV, Pablo, Montana 59855. 1991) pt. 1,2,3

Online Sites

Devlin, Sherry. “Hellgate Treaty Remembered.” 1-4,

Foust, Justin and Kruttoff, Benett. “Kerr Dam: All You Want To Know. (10/15/2003) 1-3.

“Kerr Dam. (10/15/2003) 1-2.

Flathead Timeline.” Educational Heritage.

Kevin Fraley. The US GenWeb Archives provide genealogical and historical data to the
general public without fee or charge of any kind. It is intended that this material not be used in a commercial manner. Submitted by Kevin Fraley from public records Jan. 21, 1997. Both above notices must remain when copied or downloaded.

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Reviewed by Robert Williams 4/27/2005
This well-researched story was an echo of the displacement of the Indian people of Mirpur as a result of the construction of the Bangla Dam. Whether it's hydropower, black gold, or even heroin, the global corporatists pitch their henchman against popular self-rule. Democracy is their nemesis.

Historically, the British corporatists took aim at Ireland and turned it into a giant reservation. Then the British conquered North America peicemeal repeating the reservation pattern, which was perpetuated by their descendants the Yanks.

When Baljit Singh, the first Indian to America, saw the disenfranchisment of Americans at the hands of the Yankees, he hastened back to India to warn of Cornwallis's aims.

Today, Middle Easterners and Central Asians are in the corporatist cowboys' sites.

America is entering the third year of the war in Iraq and the fourth year in Afghanistan.

Increasingly, many Americans believe that the war is over. They think that relatively few civilians and soldiers have died. They think that U.S. interests and Iraqi interests are best served by the continued occupation of Iraq.

This is not the reality. Veterans For Peace ( now know that over 100,000 Iraqi citizens have died since the beginning of the war. Over 1,500 U.S. soldiers have died. Countless British soldiers and others have been wounded and maimed. And, although the pictures are not shown on corporate media, large numbers of Iraqi citizens and U.S. soldiers continue to die.

Let us tell the truth about the wars and continuing occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and covertly Iran, which are waged in the quiet names of oil and opium.
Reviewed by Lawrance Lux 11/24/2003
A really good job. lgl
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 10/25/2003
Girl, you write the most interesting articles. Well done.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 10/20/2003
Enjoyed this informative article very much, Claywoman. You've obviously done your research quite thoroughly. Good luck with this!
Reviewed by Lisa Hilbers 10/20/2003
Quite an interesting read. The details of it were explicit and informative. You've done a great job on outlining a time in our history when most would not have even paid one bit of attention to. Thanks Clay for sharing this. Lisa
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 10/20/2003
I read this article with great interest. You have shared a lot of information that gives the reader the feeling of the events as each one took place, and left if opened for what the future might bring. Thank you for the sharing.
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A riveting Literary History and adventure novel that celebrates the cultural resurgence of Coastal First Nations peoples...  
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A riveting Literary History and adventure novel that celebrates the cultural resurgence of Coastal First Nations peoples...  
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