The Salish people and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (University of Nebraska Press, $29.95)

salish-peopleThis book on the Salish Indians of Montana, and their Pend d’Oreille kin, is the result of many hands from the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Cultural Committee. (Understandably, the Salish dislike their Anglo name, the Flatheads.)

The Salish story is taken back to tribal creation myths, long before the 1805 meeting with Lewis and Clark, who were fortunate to find these friendly Indians, unlike some on the Missouri River. The book’s compilers, rather defensively, state some warriors had discussed killing the white strangers. After mentioning their ancestors’ forbearance, the writers accuse Lewis of a provoked “reconnaissance for invasion.” They seem to have confused him with Isaac Stevens, and men of his ilk, of 50 years later, for the tribe’s decline. (At least they don’t blame the Virginian for the Blackfeet driving the Flatheads from their homeland, long before the arrival of the Corps of Discovery.)

 

—Richard H. Dillon


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