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The Assiniboine & Sioux of the Fort Peck Reservation

In northeastern Montana, sprawling across five counties lies the Fort Peck Reservation. This 3,200 square mile land is home to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. Established in 1871 to serve both groups that had wound up in the same area for different reasons ("Tribal History of the Fort Peck Reservation", Fort Peck Tribes, undated pamphlet).

The Assiniboine were traders. They had long mercantile relations with the increasing number of whites, both military and civilian that filled Montana in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Sioux arrived as refugees from the disastrous consequences of the Sioux Wars. Today, the Fort Peck Reservation is home to several bands from each tribe. The Assiniboine are represented by the Canoe Paddler Band and the Red Bottom Band. The Sioux include parts of the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Yanktonai and Hunkpapa Teton bands. The last band is notable in that the great chief Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa.

According to Mr. Ray K. Eder, Vice Chairman of the Fort Peck Tribes "The Tribal flag of the Fort Peck Tribes was designed and sketched by renowned Indian artist Roscoe White Eagle. Formerly a resident of the Fort Kipp area, Mr. White Eagle is presently residing in Poplar (the capital of the reservation)." "The colorful flag of the Fort Peck Tribes is contrastingly depicted on a field of blue sky. The two chiefs displaying the robe of the prairie buffalo is befitting of the fact that two Tribes, Assiniboine and Sioux, reside together in harmony on the same forty by eighty-five mile reservation. The sacred robe of the buffalo symbolizes the tight and lasting bond of friendship and understanding between the two Tribes.

Native Americans find this to be very gratifying during these trying years of our Indian self-determination era." (letter, Ray K. Eder, 1/25/95).

The flag, in addition to the sky blue, uses a goldenrod yellow for the hide. It bearsthe name of the reservation in red. The tribal names appear along the trail of the two chiefs headdresses white on red. The chiefs and their costumes appear in full natural colors (letter, Carol Lenz, Interim Business Manager, Fort Peck Community College, 1/25/95). Thanks to Vice Chairman Eder and the staff at the Fort Peck Community College for assistance with this segment of the report.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603