The Coeur d'Alene Indians: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Essay on the Coeur d'Alene Native Americans of Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Bibliography included...

Essay by skagen456Junior High, 7th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 7 pages 4.0

Downloaded 33 times

Imagine owning a 4,000 sq. ft house in Phoenix. After about seven years of living in your new house, the government tells you that they need some of your land. They make your property 11 times smaller than it originally was. So, you try to make the best of it for a few years. Then, the government comes back and says that they need more of your land. This time, they make your land 57 times smaller than what you originally bought. Does this sound ridiculous? It's not so far-fetched; the Coeur d'Alene Indians experienced the same thing when the government took their 4,000,000 acres of tribal lands and ended up only "giving" 58,000 acres back. The Coeur d'Alene Indians of Idaho saw their life forever changed by their first contact with Euro-Americans, their removal from tribal lands, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and other issues that still affect the tribe today.

The first contact the Coeur d'Alene Indians had with white people was with the Europeans. In 1806, three Coeur d'Alene tribe members met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, two famous explorers. The Coeur d'Alenes only had extensive contact with Euro-Americans after the Lewis and Clark expedition. Further contact involved trade. In 1809, David Thompson started the Fur Trade at the Kullyspell estate. The first large group of whites to see the Coeur d'Alene Indians was French Traders. In fact, it was these traders who first named the tribe "Coeur d'Alene," which means "heart of the awl." The tribe's name in their native tongue is Schitsu'umsh. In English it is pronounced skit-so-mish (Frey).

The Coeur d'Alenes again had contact with whites because during the 1840s and 50s, 53,000 emigrants passed through the tribe's area. These emigrants were moving west on the Oregon Trail (Encarta). Along with emigrant contact,