Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Located in beautiful western Montana, along the Flathead River and surrounded by towering peaks, the Flathead Indian Reservation is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. The tribes are a combination of the Salish, the Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai. For thousands of years the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai have inhabited lands that eventually became western Montana and the surrounding region. The People’s Center tells the story of these tribes through a museum, exhibit gallery, and educational programs. In addition to many cultural and natural attractions on the reservation, including the National Bison Range, St. Ignatius Mission, and Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and State Wildlife Management Area, the Flathead Reservation is also home to S&K Technologies, a successful tribally owed enterprise.

On May 30, 2019, Lt. Governor Cooney, Jason Smith, Director of Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, Tara Rice, Director of Depart. of Commerce, Heather Sobrepena, Depart. of Commerce Indian Country Economic Development Program, Kathleen O’Leary, Deputy Commissioner of Dept. of Labor & Industry, and Elisa Fiaschetti, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, met with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council and stakeholders to discuss the community’s accomplishments and successes, as well as their challenges and roadblocks to achieving their goals and priorities.

Rural Partners Highlights

Interior, The People’s Center, Pablo, Flathead Indian Reservation

During the Rural Partners visit we discussed priorities, and the challenges and opportunities to reaching these priorities. Priorities included:

  • Opportunity Zones
  • Food Sovereignty
  • Leveraging forest products
  • Broadband
  • Capacity building
  • Workforce and Job Corps

As a follow-up to the May visit, Rural Partners has continued to work with the tribe to make appropriate connections, provide resources, and identify potential next steps. In the meeting notes, there are also a number of resources and examples to provide assistance and may be helpful to advance projects.