Site hosted by Build your free website today!


The Kalispel Indians of Washigton State


[Commentary by Dr. John Anderson]

The Western Kalispel

The Kalispel Indian Reservation is located on the Pend Oreille river, a little downstream from the town of Newport which is on the Idaho/Washington border.

The Spokane Indian Reservation is a little to the south, and the much larger Colville Reservation is located to the west. The river valley where the reservation is located is surrounded by the Kaniksu and Colville national forests.

The ancient homeland of the Kalispel Indians began near the junction of the Pend Oreille river with the Columbia river. The lands of the western Kalispel extended upriver past the reservation into the state of Idaho and a small section of Montana.

The Kalispel Reservation

The Kalispel Reservation maintains a number of programs which serve the public and provide basic information about the western Kalispel, including their participation in environmental and cultural preservation programs. You can find out a good deal about the reservation and its residents at Reservation.

Deane Osterman is the tribal cultural resources officer. Her work is coordinated through the tribe's Natural Resource Department. You can contact her at:

The Sandpoint Treaty

Most of the territory of the western Kalispel Indians were confiscated by the United States government, at the Sandpoint Treaty of 1887. The federal government backed the railroad monopoly which began building a line through the eastern Kalispel lands in 1883. As a result, large areas of the western Kalispel lands and valuable timber was transferred to the railroad, while the rest was thrown open for white settlers.

After the Sandpoint Treaty

The Kalispel who were still living on Lake Pend Oreille had to leave that region, according the federal government. Some families went to live with relatives on the Coeur d'Alene reservation. Others went downriver to join relatives living in the area of the existing Kalispel reservation (near Usk). And others went upriver to join relatives living on what is now the Flathead Indian Reservation. A period of relocation followed, in which a number of Kalispel families left the Flathead reservation and returned to the Usk area. Life was difficult for them, because the community at Usk did not gain reservation status for a long while. But eventually, federal protection was awarded, creating the modern Kalispel Indian Reservation.

An excellent source of information on the developments that led up to the formation of this reservation is John Fahey's book called The Kalispel Indians[Univ Oklahoma 1986]. Another source of information on the Kalispel is Deward Walker's Indians of Idaho [Univ Idaho Press 1978].

For related information, see: MORE

Calispel lake A lake and immense camas wetlands, located in the Calispel valley across the river from the Kalispel Indian Reservation.

Chewelah A western Kalispel subgroup, which lived in the Chewelah valley near the Schroyelpi (Kettle) falls.

Kalispel Reservation You can contact the Tribal Council at P.O. Box 38, Usk, Washington, 99180. There are more than 200 Kalispel residing on this reservation, which is associated with the Spokane Agency. Naloxlox The western Kalispel's leading town at the time of first contacts with Americans. A nearby cave was a major western religious shrine. The catholics sometimes called this town St. Ignatius, after their church built at Naloxlox.

Qapquape The western Kalispel name for the sandy point of land located at the mouth of the Pend Oreille river and Lake Pend Oreille. This name means a sandy place, and is now the American town called Sandpoint [county seat of Bonner County].

Salish Fair & Buffalo Barbecue A celebration and pow wow, hosted by the Kalispel Reservation. For information call 509 445-1178.

This web page represents the views of the author. It does not necessarily represent

the views of the western Kalispel, either individually or as a group.

Home Page
Montana Kalispel
Idaho Kalispel
Kootenai Indians [neighbors]
Ellersick (history)