Language: Kutenai (Isolate)
Family: Kutenai
Stock: Kutenai
Phylum: Kutenai
Macro-Culture: Northwest Plateau
Speakers   120 in Canada (1998 Statistics Canada), 102 in USA (1990 Census)
      The Kootenai were a nation of the northern Plains.  They were active traders.  They were divided into two major divisions, one primarily hunters, the other depended primarily on fishing.  Their range included southeastern British Columbia, northwestern Montana, and the northern tip of Idaho.
      Their primary enemies were the Blackfeet and the plains Athapaskans.  Their territories were divided by the international boundary, thus dividing their nation.
      The Kutenai language is an isolate, not related to any other.  Early linguists believed that an Algonquian connection existed in the language but this is no longer the case.
Aboriginal Locations (Subdivisions)
BC (3), ID (1), MT (3)
Present Locations
BC   Lower Kootenay, Creston
        St. Mary's, Cranbrook
        Tobacco Plains, Grasmere
ID    Kootenai Reservation, Bonners Ferry
MT  Flathead Reservation, Dixon
Year History
Formerly lived east of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, driven west and south by the Athapaskans
1780 Known to Hudson Bay traders
1784 Blackfeet initiated relentless war against Kootenai
1807 David Thompson established Kootenay House on Columbia River
1840 First missionizing began under Jesuit Fr. de Smet
1841 Beginning of influx of 
1846 International boundary divided Kootenai lands
1855 Montana Kootenai confederated with Flathead and Kalispel tribes after Hell Gate Treaty
1947 Idaho tribe adopted constitution
1957 Idaho Kootentai declared war against U. S., bloodless war lasted three days, resulted in tribe receiving federal recognition and reseervation
Year Total Population AB BC ID MT Source
Arrival; 1,200 1,200
1700 1,200 450 150 600 NAHDB calculation
1780 1,200 Mooney estimate
1800 1,200 450 150 600 NAHDB calculation
1900 1,100 500 50 100 NAHDB calculation 
1905 1,107 Official US and Canada
1989 900 BIA estimate, US only
2000 2,500 500 150 1,850 NAHDB calculation
2004 165 IHC
2005 2,800 500 InfoPlease
Other speakers of the same language:
Kootenai Sites:
American Indian Heritage Month Poster
Char-Koosta News
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Gambling:  Kootenai Folk Tale
Idaho's Forgotten War
Kootenai Constitution
Kootenai Falls
Kootenai Indians
Kootenai Indians
Kootenai Indian Tribe
Kootenai Tribe
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
Kootenay Indian Language
Kootenay Indians
Kootenay, Kootenai, A Note About Names
Kootenay Language
Kutenai Language
Kutenai Linguistic Lineage
Language Preservation Efforts ...
Life of David Thompson
Owl's Eyes and Seeking a Spirit (Legend)
People's Center
Recognizing the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
Salish and Kootenai Authors
Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Orielle
Salish Kootenai College
S & K Technologies
Success Stories:  Kootenai River
Taking Care of His People ...
Thompson, David, Canadian Map Maker ...
Thompson, David Timeline
Treaty of Hell Gate - 1855

Last updated 11/08/08  Copyright 2008 by Four Directions Press