Indians of Idaho

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Apsaroke horse trappings
Nez Perce Camp Lapwai -Idaho 1899
An Assiniboin indian and a Yanktonan indian

Learn about the Indians of Idaho, the tribes and bands, agencies, reservations, Indian schools, records and research facilities.

To learn how to get started with American Indian research, find research facilities, and American Indian websites click here.

Tribes and Bands of Idaho

The following list of American Indians, who have lived in Idaho, has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians...[1] , Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America[2]. and other sources. Some of the names may be variant spellings or alternative names for the same tribe.

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Idaho has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[18], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[19], and others.

Records

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Allotment Records

The General Allotment Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1887, marking the establishment of the allotment of land to individuals as the official and widespread policy of the federal government toward the Native Americans. Under this policy, land (formerly land held by the tribe or tribal land) was allotted to individuals to be held in trust until they had shown competency to handle their own affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was the trustee.

Individual American Indians were given a prescribed amount of land on a reservation based upon what land was available and the number of tribal members living on that reservation. Generally, the amount of land allotted was 160 Acres for each head of family, 80 Acres for each single person over eighteen years of age, 80 Acres for each orphan child under eighteen years of age, and 40 Acres for each single person under eighteen years of age. This was dependent upon there being sufficient land available on the existing reservation. If the total acreage on the reservation was insufficient, the amounts of land were pro-rated accordingly.

Not all tribes and reservations were allotted.

Allotted Tribes of Idaho

Indian Schools

The Office of Indian Affairs (now the Bureau of Indian Affairs) established a network of schools throughout the United States, beginning with Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879. Some of these schools were day schools, usually focusing on Indian children of a single tribe or reservation. Some were boarding schools which served Indian children from a number of tribes and reservations.

In addition, other groups such as various church denominations established schools specifically focusing on American Indian children. (read more...)

The following list of Indian Schools in Idaho has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[20], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[21], and others.

Indian Health Facilities

Reservations

From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.

The following list of reservations has been compiled from:

Presently, there are four federally-recognized Indian reservations in Idaho -- the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in northern Idaho, the Duck Valley Reservation on the border of Idaho and Nevada, the Fort Hall Reservation in eastern Idaho, and the Nez Perce Reservation in central Idaho. Others have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government.

Coeur d'Alene Reservation

The Coeur d'Alene Reservation is located in Northern Idaho and serves the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

Duck Valley Reservation

The Duck Valley Reservation is located on the southern border of Idaho, in Owyhee County, and in northern Nevada. It serves the Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute Tribes.

Fort Hall Reservation

The Fort Hall Reservation is located just north of Pocatello, Idaho in the eastern part of the state and serves the Shoshone and Bannock Tribes.

Nez Perce Reservation

The Nez Perce Reservation is located in central Idaho, along the Clearwater River and serves the Nez Perce Tribe.

Other Reservations

Some of the Indians of Idaho were associated with other reservations of neighboring states. Some of these reservations may historically have included territory within Idaho. They include:

Historically, there were two other reservations which no longer exist, but which existed for a time in Idaho:

Supervising Offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Superintendencies

A Superintendent of Indian Affairs was an administrator, communicating and overseeing the agents who worked directly with individual tribes. It was the responsibility of the superintendent to see that the agents were following official government policy. (read more...)

Superintendencies with responsibility for agencies in Idaho included:

Area Offices

The Area Offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are administrative in nature and do not contain many records of details about individual Indians. Hence, they are not the most valuable records for tracing American Indian ancestry.

The Area Office with supervisory responsibility over agencies in Idaho is the Portland Area Office.

Major Research Facilities for American Indian Research

National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible for the preservation of the records of historical importance created by federal offices in the United States of America, including those of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessor, the Office of Indian Affairs. (Read more...)

Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Many of the Regional Archives have collected records of the federal offices in their region, including those of the field jurisdictions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Some of the field jurisdictions are the superintendencies, agencies, schools, factories and area offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Pacific Alaska Regional Archives (NARA) in Seattle has jurisdiction for the preservation of the records of federal offices in Idaho, including those of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

(Read more...)

Family History Library

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a large collection of American Indian sources, including:

To determine the full extent of their holdings, search their catalog, using their Keyword Search, Place Search, and Subject Search, looking for names of tribes and offices. Many of their holdings are under the subject heading of Native Races.

FamilySearch Catalog Idaho Native Races

Historical Societies and Archives

Idaho State Archives
2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, Idaho 83712
Phone 208-334-2682
Fax 208-334-2774

Other Facilities

For Further Reading

See also American Indian For Further Reading.

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Click this button for links to databases, indexes, or sites that help you find an American Indian ancestor by topic or tribe.


References

  1. Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907 Available online.
  2. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online
  3. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 398-399
  4. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 411-412.
  5. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 403.
  6. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 399-400.
  7. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 400.
  8. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, [[. 400-403.
  9. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 403
  10. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 403
  11. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 405.
  12. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 403-405.
  13. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 405-410.
  14. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, pp. 411-412.
  15. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 403.
  16. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 412.
  17. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online, p. 405.
  18. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o.)
  19. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  20. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o.)
  21. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
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