History of Montana

Native Indian Tribe

Names of the Montana Indian Tribes

Montana is a state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Montana.

The names of the Montana tribes included the Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboine, Atsina, Bannock, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Kalispel, Kiowa, Kutenai, Mandan, Nez Perce, Piegan, Salish (Flathead), Tunahe and the Spokan.

Fast Facts about the History of Montana Indians
The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Montana resulted in the adoption of the Woodland culture but some tribes also adopted the Great Plains and Plateau cultures.

  • Name of State: Montana
  • Meaning of State name: Derivation of the Latin word "montaanus" which means mountainous
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Montana: Rocky Mountains and great plains.
  • Culture adopted by Montana Indians: Woodland culture but some tribes also adopted the Great Plains culture. In Western Montana some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture
  • Languages: Athabaskan, Algonquian, Siouan, Caddoan and Uto-Aztecan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunters and Fishers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Pit houses, tepees, tule-mat lodges

History Timeline of the Montana Indians

  • 10,000 B.C. : Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 1000 AD: Woodland Period including the Hopewell cultures established along rivers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States which included trade exchange systems and burial systems
  • 1000: Mississippian Culture established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States
  • 1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.
  • 1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
  • 1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land
  • 1805: Choctaw and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Indian cessions open up land to white settlement during 1805 - 1806
  • 1805: Lewis and Clark explore Montana 1805-1806
  • 1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence
  • 1830: Indian Removal Act
  • 1832: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 1835: Creek Alabama Uprising (18351837) in Alabama and Georgia along the Chattahoochee River which resulted in a defeat for the Creek forces and the removal of the Creek people from their native lands to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma see the Trail of Tears.
  • 1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.
  • 1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • 1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy
  • 1867: Hayfield Fight (1867) 31 US soldiers and civilians fought against more than 700 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors
  • 1876: Great Sioux War (18761877). Battle of the Rosebud in Montana. Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne under Crazy Horse turned back soldiers commanded by General George Crook cutting off reinforcements intended to aid Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn
  • 1876: 1876 - Battle of Little Bighorn, Montana. Sioux and Cheyenne defeated General Custer and the Seventh Cavalry.
  • 1877: Nez Perce War in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. After fighting against the Americans Chief Joseph led his tribe 1700 miles to Canada but were forced to to surrender near the border
  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers
  • 1889: Montana was admitted to the Union
  • 1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.
  • 1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed
Crazy Horse
Battle of Little Bighorn
Chief Joseph

History of Montana Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Montana had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Montana Indians.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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