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image: Kootenai Indians
Photograph of Kootenai Indian by Edward S. Curtis
Kootenai Indians
(Kootenay, Kutenai)

First Noted by Expedition
Fall 1805

The Kootenai occupied what is now northern Montana and Idaho and southern British Columbia.

Enemies of the Blackfeet, the aggressive tribe pushed the Kootenai west of the Rockies, where they divided into the Upper and Lower Kootenai. Both groups were nomadic, living in tepees and growing only tobacco. The Upper Kootenai at the headwaters of the Columbia River were buffalo hunters, following herds for extended hunts. The Lower Kootenai tribe, which lived along the Lower Kootenai River, fished.

Today the Kootenai share a reservation with the Flathead in Montana. There is another Kootenai reservation in Idaho, and a small population in Canada.

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Kootenai Indians
Two Medicine River