Given in a reading to “Alison” by her Indian Guide. He gave the state of “Montana” and described a large river with a “shallow beach leading to grass” and behind on the other side of the river “Trees and high rocks” and gave a very clear picture of the type of canoe he was familiar with even to the construction. All of which look remarkably similar to this picture.
In fact when he showed me himself in the Canoe wearing buckskin, it was just left of centre exactly as it is in this picture. It is not unknown for guides to point their way to books, paintings etc, only for the finder to recognise the exact representation given in communications.
The style of canoe, which is very distinctive, and the state given are very specific to the tribe of Indian called the Kutenai tribe of Montana. We believe that this is where her guide had lived.
Among the Kutenai there were no clans, classes, or secret societies; they were divided loosely into bands, each with a nominal leader and an informal council of elders. They deified the sun and, like most other indigenous North American peoples, practised animism, the belief that a multitude of spirits pervades all things in nature. Shamanism also had considerable influence within Kutenai culture.
Taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannia
North American Indian tribe that traditionally lived in what are now south-eastern British Columbia, northern Idaho, and north-western Montana. Their language is of uncertain classification, some authorities placing it in the Wakashan family and some classifying it independently. The tribe is thought to be descended from an ancient Blackfoot group that migrated westward from the Great Plains to the drainage of the Kootenai River, a tributary of the upper Columbia. Plentiful streams and lakes, adequate rainfall, and abundant game and fish made this area the most favourable part of the plateau between the Rockies and the Pacific.
Kutenai people live in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and as far north as British Columbia, and Alberta.
The origin of the Kutenai tribe is a mystery. There is no real answer to how or where they originated. According to Harry Holbert in his book, Ethnography of the Kutenai, “Some part of the tribe probably originated on the Great Plains with the group called the Tunaxa.” Their tribe stretched from west of the Rocky Mountains to Arrow Lake in British Columbia. They are divided into eight separate bands including the Tunaxa, Tobacco Plains, Jennings, Libby, Bonners, Ferry, Ft. Steele, Creston, and Windermere.
The word “Kutenai” may have originated from Kutunaiua, a Blackfoot word meaning “slim people.”
There are several other possible explanations for the tribe’s name.
The Kutenai mainly relied on bison, and fish. They domesticated the horse in the 1730’s. Their first contact with European settlers was around 1800. Canadian traders brought the Kutenai to the attention of their employers hoping to establish trade. the European settlers were the first to initiate trade, and the Kutenai weren’t hard to coax. In 1855, Governor Isaac Stevens presented the “Hell’s Gate” treaty. This treaty established reservations for many of the tribes and controlled interactions between the Kutenai and their European neighbors. Many of the Kutenai fled to Canada because of this.
The Kutenai lived in the best hunting and fishing areas in North America. They survived on hunting and gathering alone, they were not agriculturalists. They hunted bison, deer, birds, and small mammals. They gathered great amounts of bitterroot and camas root. From this they produced a delicious cereal. Beavers and muskrats were used to make much of the Kutenai’s clothing. Mullein, willow bark, and other plants supplied the tribe members with medicine.
The men and women wore mainly buckskin. The men wore four pieces: shirt, leggings, a breech, and moccasins. Women wore simple buckskin dresses. Hats were worn in the winter for warmth and during the summer for shade from the sun. They decorated their hats with only long pieces of fringe. In war they wore rod armour, war paint, or nothing at all.