Providing for the People
Economic Change among the Salish and Kootenai Indians, 1875–1910
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
290 Pages | 6 x 9 | 13 b&w illus., 2 maps, 5 tables
Major changes in the Flathead Reservation economy were accompanied by the growing power of the Flathead Indian Agent. Tribal members neither sought nor desired the new order of things, but as Bigart makes clear, they never stopped fighting to maintain their economic independence and self-support. The tribes did not receive general rations and did not allow the government to take control of their food supply. Instead, most government aid was bartered in exchange for products used in running the agency.
Providing for the People presents a deeply researched, finely detailed account of the economic and diplomatic strategies that distinguished the Flathead Reservation Indians at a time of overwhelming and complex challenges to Native American tribes and traditions.
“Filled with fascinating persons and details, Providing for the People reveals a reservation world, largely unknown and unappreciated, that is remarkably human and complicated in its Native resourcefulness.” —William Farr, author of Blackfoot Redemption: A Blood Indian’s Story of Murder, Confinement, and Imperfect Justice.
“A worthy addition to twentieth-century Indian history.”— Montana the Magazine of Western History
“Providing for the People has much to offer historians of the long nineteenth century, particularly those working at the intersection of Native and economic history… Overall, the strength of the book lies in its extensive and careful primary source research… Bigart should be commended for providing such a useful resource for future scholarship on Native and economic history. Each chapter marshals an impressive amount of detail on diverse economic activities on the reservation and the text is supplemented by several useful statistical tables and two appendices with biographies of the Flathead Reservation Chiefs and Indian Agents between 1875 and 1910.”—American Nineteenth Century History
“Providing for the People is an informative book for anyone who has ever tried to follow the details of reservation economic life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”— Native American and Indigenous Studies