Excerpt 8

In Part I, we saw that in 1805, when Lewis and Clark make their way to the homeland of the Salish and Pend d'Oreille people, they entered into an ancient, and richly developed, cultural world. Yet they also entered a world already in the midst of tremendous change.

In the period preceding the arrival of the expedition, the Salish and Pend d'Oreille were deeply affected by three products of Euro-American society: horses, infectious diseases, and firearms. All arrived in the territory of the sqélixw well in advance of the white people themselves. These three factors forever changed the tribal landscape, altering tribal populations, tribal ways of life, tribal territories, and inter-tribal relations. Western Montana in 1805 was still a Salish world. But it was a Salish world vastly different from the one that had existed in 1705, 1605, or 1505.

The Salish and Pend d'Oreille, in short, were already in a state of considerable upheaval by 1805. Little did our ancestors realize that Lewis and Clark's brief visit would initiate an even more traumatic and devastating cycle of change.