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May- Sp̓eƛ̓m Spq̓niʔ (Bitterroot Month)
When it was time to dig bitterroot, the Chief would select a group women to go ahead and test the root to see if it was ready. If it peeled easily, then it was ready. Before any bitterroot was dug, a ceremony had to be conducted. This ceremony was done to ask that the bitterroots and all plants for food or medicine be abundant and healthful. A feast of roots was collected by an appointed group. Following the ceremony, everyone is then free to dig all that they need.
People were asked not to dig any bitterroots before the ceremony. If it was dug before the ceremony, it caused the roots to be extra bitter and scarce. Sp̓eƛ̓m was always carefully peeled, cleaned and dried throughly before storing. The indian people sometimes traded bitterroot with other tribes for different types of food that were not found here.

Dates of Interest:

May 1: U.S. officially opens Flathead Reservation to non-indian homesteaders

May 5: 1909 U.S. reservation lands to non-indians for $1.25 to $7 per acre

May 10: Chief Big Canoe of the Pend d' Oreille died at the age 83 in 1882.

May 29: 1908, Congress amends the Flathead Allotment Act to allow non-indians to receive water from the Irrigation Project and for other purposes.

April- sčyál̓mn spq̓niʔ (The Month of the Buttercup)
This is the Spring(sqepc) month. The first thunder is heard this month. All the bears, snakes, gophers and other hibernating animals come out. Snč̓lé stories are no longer told, they have been put away until the next snow fall.
This is also the month when the sčyál̓mn (buttercup), q̓awxeʔ (yellow bells) and słt̓it̓ič̓i (little dog, pussy willows) are in bloom. The Indian people used the sčyál̓mn as medicine. The qawxeʔ was used as a fruit. It would be mixed with spéƛ̓m (bitterroot).

Dates of interest:

April 12: US congress opened the reservation to Homesteading in 1910.

April 18: In 1859, four years after the Hellgate treaty was signed, President Buchanan put the finishing touches on the treaty.

April 23: In 1904, Congress passed the law which divided the reservation into allotment with provisions to open the remaining lands for settlement. This is called the Flathead Allotment act.

April 27: town of Arlee was named for Chief Arlee

April 29: "Wise Chief" Michel, Chief of the Upper Pend d'Oreilles died in 1929

March- k̓ʷsixʷ spq̓niʔ (The Month of The Geese)

When the geese were spotted flying in from the south that was a good sign that the winter months were coming to an end. It was time to look ahead to warmer weather. During the first part of the month, some of the people would go to certain lakes to snag, and trap fish. The people would be preparing for their hunting trips, berry picking and root digging. This is also when ƛ̓čƛ̓a (Blackbirds) would be arriving.

Dates of interest:

March 2: 1945, Louis Charlo, private first class in the US.Marines, killed on Iwo Jima. Six days after he shares with three other Marines the distinction of being the first americans to scale Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima. He was killed in action on the same island at the age of 18. He was a descendant of chief Martin Charlo. Louis and three companions made history February 24, 1945 by reaching the highest point of 566 ft. Mount Surabachi two hours before a patrol marked its capture by planting an american flag there. Louis was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Antoine Charlo.

March 5: Chief Victor dies and his son Charlo succeeds him.

March 16: US. Government agrees to allot each indian 160 acres.

March 22: Fort Conah is founded as a Trading Post among the Flatheads

Lesson of the week



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