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GNP (Glacier Nationa Park) Unearthed shares some of the aboriginal Kootenai place names in Glacier National Park. Kootenai traditional territory was massive and included parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Montana, and Idaho. They were known to be nomadic and to this day its been very difficult for experts to determine where precisely the Kootenai originated. Before the Glacier National Park establishment in 1910, names such as Apgar, Grinnell, and McDonald already had aboriginal Kootenai names.  There are hundreds of Kootenai names and legends for the geography within Glacier Park and surrounding areas.  The Kootenai inhabited this area for millennia-long before explorers set foot here.  Evidence proves that the Kootenai are native to Montana and archaeological evidence shows that Kootenai inhabited Montana more than 14,000 years ago and artifacts indicate that they have roots in the area's prehistory. The Kootenai inhabited the mountainous terrain west of the Continental Divide, venturing seasonally to the east for buffalo hunts through present-day Glacier National Park.  

 

Although the Kootenai were not the only native tribes to travel Glacier other tribes such as the Blackfeet and Salish also accessed the area on Buffalo hunts.

 

 A special thanks to Glacier and National Park Services for the public domain photos, Margaret Mathias-Friedlander, the late Adeline Mathias and KCC linguist D.B. for assisting with place names, spellings, and pronunciations. 

 

For more information on conservation efforts at Glacier National Park read: https://www.gamewarden.org/conservation-glacier-national.