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The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is a federally-recognized reservation, located in north-central Montana, between Havre and Glasgow. It is primarily in Blaine County, with a smaller portion in Phillips County.

Established -- September 17, 1851 and 17 Oct. 1855
Agency (BIA) -- Fort Belknap Indian Agency at Harlem, Montana
Principal tribes -- Assiniboine and the Gros Ventre (Atsina), Blackfeet Indians, Flathead Indians, Kalispel Indians, Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians, MontanaNez Perce Indians, Pend d'Oreille Indians, and Spokane Indians
Population --  2010 census is 2,704 (when including mixed bloods it's 2,738) - Does not include non Indians[1] 1969: Tribal enrollment 3,557.[2]

Contents

History

Fort Belknap Reservation was established by Treaty of Oct. 17, 1855; unratified treaties of July 18, 1866, and July 13, and 15 and Sept. 1, 1868; Executive orders, July 5, 1873, and Aug. 19,1874; an act of Apr. 15, 1874; Executive orders, Apr. 13, 1875, and July 13,1880; agreement made Jan. 21, 1887, approved by Congress May 1, 1888; and an agreement made Oct. 9, 1895, approved by act of June 10, 1896.

The area of the reservation in 1908 was 497,600 acres. In 1900, the Reservation covered 537,600 acres. Later in the 1930s, more land was added on to the Fort Belknap Reservation with the support of Joseph Dussome and other Little Shell Chippewa leaders. Today, Fort Belknap Reservation covers 648,920 acres or 1,014 sq. mi.[3].

Land records: Tribally-owned 162,932.63 adres.  Allotted land: 427,579.93.

Fort Belknap Reservation is within the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851 and approved on October 17, 1855. The correct name of the original Blackfeet Reservation, is either Judith basin indian reservation or Judith River Indian Reservation. The October 17, 1855 Blackfeet Treaty, was signed near the mouth of the Judith River which is within the Judith basin indian reservation. Little Shell Blackfeet Chippewa leaders continued to govern the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851, well into the early 20th century.

Read the October 17, 1855 Blackfeet Treaty text. It is the home of the Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Flathead (included as being Flathead are the Kalispel, Pend d'Oreille, and Spokane), the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the Nez Perce.

In 1921, a meeting was held at Joseph Paul's family's ranch near Lewistown, Montana. It was probably about filing a land claims lawsuit about the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851. However, the Little Shell Blackfeet Chippewa's continued to govern the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851.

On June 10, 1939, another meeting was held at Joseph Paul's home in Great Falls, Montana. Even during 1939, they were assigning district representatives for the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851.

After World War II, many of the Little Shell Blackfeet Chippewa leaders became despondent and commenced to act on their own. In 1950, Joseph Dussome gave up and hired a lawyer and then filed a land claims lawsuit about the original Blackfeet Reservation created on September 17, 1851. On April 5, 1974, the United States again refused to honor the treaty which created the Little Shell Blackfeet Chippewa's original Blackfeet Reservation which the Fort Belknap Reservation is within.

To learn more about the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana and how they governed their original Blackfeet Reservation, click www.indianaffairs.gov/cs/groups/xofa/documents/text/idc-001419.pdf this link. On page 119 (not on the adobe acrobat reader but on the pdf book pages) is the information about the June 10, 1939 meeting at Joseph Paul's home in Great Falls, Montana. On page 92, under "The Creation of Organizations in Montana, 1920-1936," is information about the first so called Little Shell Tribe organization in Montana. Howard Paul (Joseph Paul's son) preserved the information. The meeting was held at Joseph Paul's family's ranch near Lewistown, Montana in 1921.

They almost completely ignored Joseph Paul and focused primarily on Joseph Dussome. If you read the pdf book, you will have no choice but to agree that Joseph Paul was far more important. And they focused too much of their attention on the Metis or mixed bloods. And they did not mention anything about the original Blackfeet Reservation which the Little Shell Tribes land claim was about. Click memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S this link, to read the September 17, 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty which created and defined the Blackfeet Territory which is the original Blackfeet Reservation.

Little Shell Chippewa leaders have every right to claim the Assiniboine Territory (it has the number 300) and the territory of the Crow (it has the number 517 and yellow color and extends to Wyoming). No Crow Reservation (the Crow Reservation is really a Cheyenne Chippewa Reservation) is found anywhere in the land area in Montana and Wyoming with the yellow color and number 517. The treaty of October 20, 1875 did not add land to the Crow Reservation. It established a Reservation for the Cheyenne Chippewa's. Click memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D this link, to read the October 20, 1875 Treaty. On the bottom of the page click the Montana 2 link. You will notice the Northern Cheyenne Reservation bordering the Crow Reservation on the east, and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation (it has the number 585) bordering the Crow Reservation on the north. However, the Arapaho (the Southern Cheyenne) Wind River Reservation and Northern Cheyenne Reservation, are within the land area in Montana and Wyoming, with the yellow color and number 517. Both the Arapaho and Cheyenne are really Chippewa. The Crow supposedly ceded their right to the land area with the number 300, on May 7, 1868.

If the Crow claimed the land area with the number 300, than the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians have every right to claim the entire land area with the yellow color and number 517. Why? An extension to the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851 and approved on October 17, 1855,  was agreed upon on April 13, 1875. It is within the land areas with the numbers 300 and 517. Click memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S this link, to read the treaty which established the addition to the original Blackfeet Reservation which was created on September 17, 1851 and approved on October 17, 1855, within the land areas with the numbers 300 and 517. On the bottom of the page is the Montana 2 link. Click it. The addition to the original Blackfeet Reservation has the numbers 622 and 623. You will notice the southwest portion of the original Blackfeet Reservation is within the land areas with the numbers 300 and  517.

Communities

Fort Belknap Agency: 2010 population is 1,293. Indians make up 96.6% of the population of Fort Belknap Agency. There are three distinct communities which make up Fort Belknap Agency. About a half a mile south of the main community of Fort Belknap Agency is a cluster of housing units. It's population is a part of Fort Belknap Agency. About a half a mile south of Central Fort Belknap Agency is another cluster of housing units. It's population is also a part of Fort Belknap Agency. It covers 45.76 sq. mi. Fort Belknap Agency covers a large area.

Hays: 2010 population is 843. Indians make up 93.2% of the population of Hays. Like Fort Belknap Agency, Hays is made up of at least four distinct communitites. About 0.9 miles to the southeast of the main area of Hays, is a cluster of housing units. It's population is a part of Hays. About 0.8 miles to the northeast of the main area of Hays, is another cluster of Housing units. It's population is a part of Hays. About 3.9 miles north of the main area of Hays, is another cluster of housing units. It's population is a part of Hays. Hays covers 27.05 sq. mi. It covers a large area.The Little Shell Blackfeet Chippewa's had a minor district at Hays. In 1939, the Hays district representative is unknown.

Lodge Pole: 2010 population is 265. Indians make up 97% of the population. Like both Fort Belknap Agency and Hays, Lodge Pole is made up of three distinct communities. About 0.4 miles southeast of the main area of Lodge Pole, is a cluster of housing units. It's population is a part of Lodge Pole. About 0.8 miles north of the main area of Lodge Pole, is a new cluster of housing units or new settlement. It's population is a part of Lodge Pole.

There are at least 10 distinct communities on the Fort Belknap Reservation. However, Reservation leaders follow County and State laws. Reservation leaders should have full authority over the 10 communities. They should issue each distinct community it's own community name and define each communities borders or village limits. They should also give each community the power of jurisdiction, or allow the citizens of each community to elect their community leaders.

Population Growth History

In 1901, the population of Fort Belknap Reservation was 1,290. In 1930, or about 4 years before the Indian Reorganization Act was voted on and accepted at Fort Belknap Reservation, the Indian population of Fort Belknap Reservation was 1,367. It increased by only 77 during that 30 year period. That is only a 6% population gain in 30 years which means something went wrong. There may have been an unknown forced relocation of the more hostile Indians at Fort Belknap Reservation, to other Reservations. In 1908, a new Chippewa Reservation which covered over 2,000 sq. mi., was set aside in Valley County, Montana which is a few miles east of Fort Belknap Reservation. However, opposition from white settlers eradicated the Valley County, Montana Chippewa Reservation within a year. It may have had links to Fort Belknap Reservation.

In 2010, the Indian population of Fort Belknap Reservation was 2,738. It decreased from 2,813 in the 2000 census, by 75. Many of the Indian citizens of Fort Belknap Reservation have moved to Harlem, Montana which is about 2 miles north of the Fort Belknap Reservation. Harlem, Montana is now a predominantly Indian city. Harlem, Montana has a population of 808 according to the 2010 census. Indians make up 52.35% of the population of Harlem. When including mixed bloods, the Indian population of Harlem, Montana is 58%.

And Dodson, Montana, which is a couple of miles northeast of Fort Belknap Reservation, is another predominantly Indian city. Dodson has a population of 124 according to the 2010 census. Indians make up 49.19% of the population of Dodson. When including mixed bloods, it's 55.64%. Zortman, Montana, which nearly borders Fort Belknap Reservation on the south, also has a significant Indian population. Of Zortman's 2010 population of 69, Indians make up 18.84% of the small communities population but 26.09% when including mixed bloods.

Records

Many of the records of individual Indians living on the Fort Belknap Reservation were kept by the Fort Belknap Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Others are kept by the Tribal Office.

References

  1. Census 2000 Tribal Entity Counts for American Indian Reservations and Off-Reservation Trust Lands. U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division. Available online. {Note: This census figure only accounts for tribal members living on the reservation or trust lands. Other enrolled tribal members may live off-reservation.)
  2. Indian Reservations A State and Federal Handbook. Compiled by The Confederation of American Indians, New York, N.Y. McFarland and Co. Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, c. 1986. FHL book 970.1 In2
  3. "Montana Indian Reservations," Handbook of Indians North of Mexico, by Frederick Webb Hodge Available online.

3. The Confderation of American Indians.  Indian Reservations A State and Federal Handbook c. 1986

ISBM 0-89950-200-8  

Bibliography

  • Confederation of American Indians. Indian Reservations: A State and Federal Handbook. Jefferson, North Caroline: McFarland & Co., c1986. WorldCat 14098308; FHL book 970.1 In2.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30, 1906. This publication lists the 22 states which had reservations in 1908. Available online.
  • Kappler, Charles J. Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1902. 7 volumes. WorldCat 74490963; FHL book 970.1 K142iAvailable online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. Atlas of American Indian Affairs. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1991 WorldCat 257331735; FHL book 970.1 P95aa
  • Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 3rd Edition. Lincoln, Nebraska: Univeresity of Nebraska Press, 2000. WorldCat 50416280; FHL book 970.1 P95d.
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. Guide to the Military Posts of the United States, 1789-1895. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, c1964. WorldCat 522839; FHL book 973 M2pf.
  • Schmeckebier, Laurance F. The Office of Indian Affairs: Its History, Activities, and Organization. Service Monographs of the United States Government; no. 48. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1927. Reprint. New York: AMS Press, 1972.  WorldCat 257893; FHL book 973 B4b v. 48.
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published

 

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  • This page was last modified on 17 June 2014, at 06:22.
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