Tiller's Guide to Indian Country - First Edition

Idaho Introduction - Coeur D’Alene and the lower Columbia River Valley, competed with U.S. adventurers from Saint Louis. The name “Coeur d’ Alene,” meaning “sharp pointed hearts” was given to these native people by French fur traders, reflecting the trappers’ exasperation at the Coeur d Alene’s resistance to the traders’ often uneven bargaining arrangements. By 1840 trapping had almost ended, and the Hudson Bay Company gained control of the region. The Hudson Bay Company, with posts at Fort Hall and Fort Boise, served the thousands of settlers who traveled west over the Oregon and California Trails. Native people of the Fort Hall Reservation recall the senseless slaughter of buffalo, their main food source, by numbers of these passing settlers. A series of Idaho gold rushes lured many especially after an important mineral discovery at Pierce in 1860. The discovery of gold on many established reservations caused the U.S. government to force the area’s tribes to renegotiate the terms of their treaties. For instance when gold was discovered in the momtains within Coeur d’Alene territory, an 1889 treaty forced the area chiefs to sell all the land around Lake Penal Oreille and up into the mountains, leaving only the southern part of their reservation. Similarly, the unearthing of gold on the Nez Perce Reservation at Orofino in 1855 required the inhabitants to renegotiate their treaty, ultimately forcing a majority of bands to give up their land. While some of Idaho’s early gold camps were quickly mined out, a number continued to produce for many years. Important lead-silver discoveries near Hailey in 1880 and in the Coeur d’Alene mines in 1884 permanently established Idaho’s mining industry. Idaho became the major lead-silver region of the United States, with production exceeding a value of $4.6 billion in a little more than a century. Jesuit missionaries arrived shortly within a decade of the first fur traders. Father DeSmet, who was led to the Coeur d’ Alene territory by a Flathead guide in 1842, introduced Christianity to many of the Coeur d’ Alene tribe. Under the guidance of these missionaries, the Coeur d’Alenes built a mission at Cataldo in 1850. This mission, the oldest building in Idaho, now stands as a state monument and serves as a ceremonial camp site used by contemporary Coeur d’ Alene people. The Cataldo Mission was vacated by the Coeur d Alene in 1878 when an influx of miners forced the Coeur d’Alene to head south, where a new church and school were founded by the missionaries near the lake at DeSmet. Missionaries also achieved a modest number of conversions in the Kootenai territory after arriving in the Kootenai River Valley in the late 1830s. While all of these factors contributed to the utter disruption of the native population’s traditional life-styles, it was perhaps the impact of the notorious Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, which ultimately caused the greatest breach in the communal culture and traditional subsistence methods practiced by these people. While supposedly proposed as a way of encouraging the assimilation of Native Americans into the homesteading way of life, the Dawes Act merely accelerated the takeover of “Indian Territory” by settlers. In response to the forfeiture of tribal lands (many of which were already much smaller reservations than their traditional land base), each tribal member received a land allotment to be owned individually. In the case of the Kootenai, eight thousand acres were set aside in the early 1900s in private 160-acre-parcels. Yet to gain ownership of the land, the Kootenai had to successfully cultivate these plots. As the Kootenai acknowledge, their lack of farming experience and the government’s failure to provide the promised infrastructural and instructional support contributed to their ultimate failure at farming. The Kootenai, like many other of Idaho’s native people, quickly lost their land to immigrant farmers. Throughout these dramatic changes, the native people of Idaho did not remain passive victims in the face of their changing conditions. For instance, the Kootenai actively resisted the military’s attempts to move them to the Flathead Reservation in Montana for approximately fifty years following the 1855 Council at Hellgate. Under the leadership of Chief Vincent, Coeur d’ Alene warriors defeated the U.S. Army led by Colonel Steptoe, a battle which resulted in the death of only seven participants. Mom tragically the Army responding to the theft of some cattle and horses by three Shoshone, mercilessly attacked, killed, and tortured a majority of the Shoshone Band living along the Bear River in 1863. The lands throughout this region bear witness to the many native and non-native people who lost their lives during the fulfillment of the settlers’ dreams of “manifest destiny.” Federal reservation Coeur CYA!ene Benewah and Kaotenai counties, Idaho Coeur DAlene Tribal Cauncil Plummer, Idaho 83851-9704 (208) 274-3101 Fax: 274-2824 Tatal area 345,000 acres Tribally owned 36,370 acres , Allatted 27,730 acres Other 260,750 acres High schaol graduate or higher 65.2% Bachelar’s degree or higher 5.2% Per capita income $5,766 Total labor force 243 Unemployment rate 17.7% Total reservation population 5,778 10CATION AND IAND STATUS The Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation encompasses approximately 345,000 acres in the Idaho panhandle, about 40 miles southwest of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Spokane, Washington lies 40 miles to the west. Principal settlements on the reservation include Benewah, DeSmet, Plummer, Tensed, and Worley. Tribally owned lands total about 69,000 acres, interspersed with individually allotted and non-Indian lands. The majority of the land (247,540 acres) within the Coeur d’Alene Reservation is privately owned (247,540 acres). The state of Idaho owns 12,640 acres, mostly in Heybum State Park, which is situated at the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The U.S. Forest Service owns 570 acres administered by Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The southern portion of Coeur dAlene Lake is also included within the reservation. The reservation’s abundant resources include vast forested mountain areas, pristine lakes, streams, and grass-carpeted valleys. Elevations range from 5,412 feet on Eagle Mountain in the northeast comer of the reservation down to 2,125 feet on Lake Coeur d’Alene. In 1858, the Coeur d’Alene joined with several other tribes to defeat U.S. forces near Rosalia, Washington. The following year a U.S. expedition defeated the tribes and forced them to accept a treaty in which they ceded large amounts of ancestral land and were consigned to reservations. The reservation was officially established by an Executive Order of 1873. 332