NATIVE PEOPLES of Montana
12,000 years before the earliest white settlers, Jefferson County was already home to more than 12 distinctive nations of Native Americans. Since the Judith River treaty of 1855, the area of Jefferson County became common hunting ground. As such, our exhibit pays tribute to each of these distinct nations that call Montana home, as well as a few who were pushed out by either white settlers or by warfare with other tribes. We also take a look at Montana before history, with particular focus on Jefferson County's own MacHaffie site.
The history of Montana's Indians extends to the beginning of time itself. We've briefly summarized them here, with special focus on how white settlers affected their location and population.
Most of the artifacts on display were handcrafted by Jefferson County residents using traditional methods and materials. We also contain a collection of historic photographs of Native peoples enjoying their traditional ways of life, considered by their white photographers to be "a vanishing race".
One of Montana's most significant archaeological sites, the MacHaffie site, is located here in Jefferson County.
Montana Indians: Their History and Location. Contains in-depth historical and cultural overviews written with the tribes themselves.
A more detailed timeline of Indian history, sorted by tribe.
Montana Before History by Douglass MacDonald. Purchase a copy here, or reserve a copy from your local library
Montana Indian Education For All resources from the Montana Office of Public Instruction
Tribal territory map.