Published on December 28, 2012 by Amy
The Pend d’Oreilles, also known as the Kalispel, are a tribe of Native Americans who lived around Lake Pend Oreille, as well as the Pend Oreille River, and Priest Lake although some of them live spread throughout Montana and eastern Washington. The primary tribal range from roughly Plains, Montana, westward along the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho, and the Pend Oreille River in Eastern Washington and into British Columbia was given the name Kaniksu by the Kalispel peoples. The Kalispel are one of the three tribes of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.
The name Pend Oreille is of French origin, meaning “hangs from ears”, which refers to the large shell earrings that these people wore. The main part of the reservation on which these Native Americans live is northwest of Newport, Washington, in central Pend Oreille County. The main reservation is an 18.638 square kilometres (7.196 sq mi) strip of land along the Pend Oreille River, west of the Washington-Idaho border. There is also a small parcel of land in the western part of the Spokane metropolitan area in the city of Airway Heights, with a land area of 0.202 square kilometres (50 acres), currently the site of Northern Quest Casino which is operated by the tribe. The total land area of the Kalispel Indian Reservation, located at 48°25′46″N 117°16′48″W in Pend Oreille County, is 18.840 square kilometres (7.274 sq mi).
The Pend d’Oreilles were generally peaceable. These people made their weapons and tools from flint, and many other things were shaped with rocks. For housing the Pend d’Oreilles lived in tipis in the summer, as well as lodges in the winter time. These houses were all built out of large cattails, which were in abundance where the people lived. These cattails were woven into mats called “tule mats” which were attached to a tree branch frame to form a hut. Today a large community building on the Kalispel reservation retains the name “Tule Hut” in remembrance of this traditional housing.
The horses the Native Americans needed came from trading buffalo skins. The Pend d’Oreilles, like many other tribes, hunted buffalo and traded the furs for other useful goods. These people wore robes as well as skins for clothing. They decorated themselves with dyes, paints, beads, and sometimes even animal quills.
The Upper Pend d’Oreilles of the Flathead Reservation became engaged in a dispute over off-reservation hunting between the tribes and the state of Montana resulted in the Swan Valley Massacre of 1908.
Their language, Kalispel-Pend d’Oreille, belongs to the Salishan family.