Kalispel Tribe of Indians
Small Tribe, Big Challenges
By 1875, the Tribal population had shrunk to only 395 people. From 1880 to 1910, as more white settlers moved into Kalispel territory, the Tribe witnessed its land disappearing but could do nothing to prevent it. Many of the white settlers filed claims under the Homestead Act in order to “legally” obtain land which was rightfully home for much of the Tribe. This time period also introduced the widespread use of alcohol, which many consider to be a fundamental source of the breakdown of the family unit.
For generations, Kalispel members remained trapped in a subsistence environment. In 1965, only a couple of homes on the reservation had running water and there was only one telephone for the Tribe. The average annual income for a Tribal member was approximately $1,400.
The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has faced several challenges associated with life in remote rural areas, such as unemployment, inadequate housing, limited economic opportunities, and prejudice. With most of the land on the Reservation unsuitable for development, the Tribe has had to develop innovative ways to create opportunity for Tribal members. The Tribe’s pioneering spirit, combined with sheer determination, resiliency and community cohesiveness, has allowed the Tribe to overcome many difficult circumstances.See more