Tiller's Guide to Indian Country - Second Edition

533 I DAHO Coeur d'Alene LOCATION AND LAND STATUS The Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation is located 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, and Tensed. Over 247,000 acres within the Coeur d'Alene Reservation are privately owned. The State of Idaho owns 12,640 acres, mostly in Heyburn State Park, which is situated at the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The U.S. Forest Service owns 570 acres that are administered by Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The reservation was officially established by an Executive Order in 1873. The reservation included almost 4,000,000 acres of the tribe's traditional territory, but it dwindled to its present size through treaties, forced sales, and the allotment process. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Reservation lands range from 2,200 to 2,600 feet above sea level. Mountain peaks rise to between 4,000 and 5,500 feet. The area consists of rolling hills and evergreen timber as well as wetlands and rangelands. Lake Coeur d'Alene and Black Lake are located in the southern regions of the reservation. Lake Coeur d'Alene is the region's major body of water. Several creeks and mountains are located in the northern quarter of the reservation. The St. Joe River and St. Maries River flow through the reservation. CLIMATE The average summer temperature on the reservation is 65ºF, while the average winter temperature is 31.2ºF. The annual precipitation is 10 inches and snowfall is 59.5 inches. CULTURE AND HISTORY The Schitsu'umsh, "Those who are found here," originated in the regions of present-day northwestern United States. The tribe is comprised of three family bands. The first band is made up of those families living along and near the Coeur d'Alene River; the second band is made up of those living along the St. Joe River; and the third band is made up those families living near Hayden Lake, Coeur d'Alene Lake, and Spokane River. Their ancestral lands encompassed nearly 5,000,000 acres in what are now Idaho, Washington, and Montana. The tribe traditionally hunted buffalo on the Montana plains, fished for salmon at Spokane Falls, and dug for cams and other wild root crops near Kalispel and present-day Palouse. Tribal members utilized the ancient trade routes between their homelands and those of other indigenous groups, including the Nez Perce, Shoshone, and Bannock. Members of the Schitsu'umsh tribe traveled as far west as the Pacific coast. The Schitsu'umsh became known as the Coeur d'Alene, "Heart of the Awl," following their encounter with French trappers. The Coeur d'Alene band populations were decimated by the arrival of smallpox, measles, and other European diseases that came with Euro-American encroachment on tribal lands. Records indicate that in the late eighteenth century there were as many as 5,000 members of the Coeur d'Alene bands. In 1905, less than 200 years later, the population was recorded at only 490. An Executive Order establishing the reservation was issued in 1873. In 1887 the tribe ceded nearly 3,500,000 acres in Washington, Idaho, and Montana to the U.S. government. Several thousand more acres were ceded in 1889 and 1894. Tribal lands were reduced from almost 4,000,000 acres to 345,000 acres. Under the Homestead Act of 1909, over 80 percent of the reservation passed out of tribal ownership. Specifically, the tribe lost ownership of most of its land along Lake Coeur d'Alene through allotment and the opening of the reservation to non-Native settlers beginning that year. Moreover, the effects of the Homestead Act were gradual social, cultural, and economic degradation. The loss of a land base jeopardized tribal identity through forced acculturation, which in turn opened the door to many social problems. In response to this tragic downward spiral, the tribe filed a claim with the Indian Claims Commission on November 15, 1950, for compensation for the illegal confiscation of their traditional homelands. On May 6, 1958, the Commission awarded the tribe $4,342,778 on behalf of this claim. The tribe has subsequently pursued other claims and litigation, generally successfully. The proceeds from these awards have been applied toward economic development projects such as a gaming facility, which in turn have generated more profits, ultimately to be applied toward the general welfare of tribal members. GOVERNMENT The tribe's governing body is the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Council. The council has been empowered to act on behalf of the tribe under the terms of the revised constitution and bylaws, adopted on November 10, 1984, and approved by the secretary of the interior on December 21 of that year. The tribal council consists of seven members, each elected to threeyear terms. Its officers include a chairman, a vice chairman, and a secretary-treasurer. The general council consists of all tribal members who are of voting age. Tribal government is comprised of 18 departments. They include the gaming board, the housing advisory board, the health advisory board, the development advisory board, the law and order advisory board and the tribal school advisory board, each with their respective directors. There are also Coeur d'Alene Coeur d'Alene Reservation Federal reservation Benewah and Kootenai counties, Idaho Coeur d'Alene Tribal Council 850 A Street. P.O. Box 408 Plummer, ID 83851 208-686-1800 208-686-1182 Fax cdatribe-nsn.gov Total area (BIA realty, 2004) 74,693 acres Total area (Tribal source, 2004) 344,900 acres Trust lands (Tribal source, 2004) 36,370 acres Tribally owned (BIA realty, 2004) 30,559 acres Tribally owned (Tribal source, 2004) 14,310 acres Allotted lands (Tribal source, 2004) 22,060 acres Individually owned (BIA realty, 2004) 44,134 acres Population 2000 census 6,551 Tribal enrollment (Tribal source, 2004) 1,907