Forester April Rainey hard at work. Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian
In northwest Montana, researchers have found physical evidence of human occupation that is more than 10,000 years old in some locations. At one time, not that long ago, a vast region was occupied and traveled by tribes of indigenous peoples. That area in more local terms, is now divided into the provincial boundary’s of Alberta and British Columbia, nation of Canada, and the state boundary’s of Montana, Idaho, and Washington, nation of the United States of America. Previous to the time of these divisions and boundary’s, it all was the lands of Native Aboriginal Peoples.
In the book, Century of Survival, A Brief History of The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the author’s, listed as the Elders of the Kootenai Nation – And the Members of the Tribe, make a point in their dedication. It states, “This book is dedicated to our stubborn, strong-willed, long-suffering ancestors. We honor your memory.” It is important during these times especially, to illustrate additional parallels that should be obvious and are focused on by the authors in chapter one, titled Before the Beginning of Time. Here, after stating that these things are sacred and cannot be shared with others, they consent to provide the following information: “It’s just like your Bible. There is a creator who made the world. You call the Creator God; He told us to call Him Nupika.” They continue, “The Creator Spirit was in everything, and there were no people. Then he decided to make human beings. He made different People for different places. He made the Kootenai People for this place. He then told us Kootenai’s our rules (paraphrase) and said, I am QuilxKa Nupika, your supreme being. I have no beginning and no end. I have made my Creation in my image – a circle – and you Kootenai people are within that circle along with everything else in my Creation.”
And what a balanced garden of life that must have been. With the First Nations Peoples, as they have been called, living in harmony with their environment as their creator asked them to do, there was a balance. The tribes spanned from southeast British Columbia to the Kootenai River in now Montana and Idaho, and further. Kootenay Lake was thought of as the heart of the peoples, and the river and it’s waterways thought to be the veins that connected the people. For millenniums, the White sturgeon were an extremely important part of the Kootenai people’s diet and culture. Pictographs near probable successful harvesting areas are thought by archaeologists to be approximately 10,000 years old. Even their canoes, which had to be navigated through marshes and cattails were designed as sturgeon nosed watercraft. Tribal members utilized these canoes to hunt white sturgeon below Kootenai Falls, which was also understood to be a place of power and a vision quest site.
The history and spirit of the Kootenai Peoples is all around us. Additional pictographs near Kila, Lost Trail Wildlife Refuge, and Rexford depict the people hunting deer, moose, elk, bear, and also fishing for Salmon and Native trout species. Some of this artwork is interpreted as calenders of hunting trips and presumed vision quest chronography. They hunted with Pacific yew wood archery bows, and some lived in Western red-cedar shelters . They harvested native plants such as huckleberry, thimbleberry, and some traveled for bitterroot and bison. A plethora of native medicinal plants were available. It was not an easy life, but it was likely a good life. And it was all the lands of Native Peoples. For more information on the Kootenai Tribes, folks can read Century of Survival: A Brief History of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho – ASIN: B002J7UDIG, and view the documentary Idaho’s Forgotten War.
By Brian Baxter, The Montanian
Lincoln County Health
Free Flu Shots available now. Those wishing to schedule an appointment or seeking to host a free clinic within their Lincoln County business and/or community venue this season are invited to contact Trista Gilmore, LPN, at 283-2447 to make arrangements.
While the flu has not yet arrived in Lincoln County this year, vaccinations to boost potential immunity and heightened well-being this season are highly encouraged.
By Stacy Bender, The Montanian
Kootenai Valley Christian School
Kootenai Valley Christian School’s annual Veterans Day Program will be posted on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/kvcs.info, rather than offered as a live event. Staff and students of KVCS sincerely thank all of our local U.S. Veterans, and those in active duty for their military service, and we look forward to a live Veterans Day event for our community next year.
Submitted by Ruthanne Dolezal
Volunteer Foresters prune trees at City Hall
By Brian Baxter
On Sunday, Nov. 1, a group of good hearted and experienced local foresters brought their own chainsaws, pole-saws, clippers, shears, and hand tools along with their tree pruning skills down to the Libby City Hall Offices at 952 East Spruce Street in Libby. There, the group proceeded to trim up four trees in the parking lot that were in desperate need of care. The group included April Rainey, Russ Gautreaux, Bob Casteneda, Brian Baxter, and Jennifer Nelson. Sometime between the changing leaves in fall and flower blooms in spring, some trees can use a trimming up. In late fall and winter, trees enter a dormant stage halting their growth.
This general period of inactivity along with dropping temperatures create an ideal setting for pruning. Homeowners and landowners need to be careful, because if a person trims after new
growth has started, one can limit the trees bloom potential for the year. Plus a firmed up or frozen ground in late fall or early winter gives arborists less difficult access to the trees, and the bare canopy makes branches both more visible and easier to handle. Pruning trees in the dormant season promotes tree current health and sustains future tree growth. Reference Davey Proven Solutions for a Growing World.