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Montanans Asked to Check the Attic for Lost Treasures

March 25, 2008

Pablo, MT – Montana tribes are on a treasure hunt, and they're asking those starting spring-cleaning projects to help out. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are looking for photographs of places and people on the Flathead Reservation in the late 1800s and early 1900s that Montanans may have stashed away in old boxes or photo albums.

Mary Jane Charlo is coordinating the history project. She says reservation history includes a lot of non-Native Americans, such as local homesteaders.

"For community, we want the non-Indian and the tribal people. We've lived here side by side, and sometimes people forget that."

Charlo says they also need photo documentation of what reservation communities looked like – details showing the buildings, roads, farm, churches and stores.

"Anything having to do with the beginning of towns. Each town had their mercantile, anything you needed to get for farming or ranching you could get in those stores."

Charlo says that so far they have a nice collection of photographs featuring Native Americans, but very few photos documenting others who lived on and near the reservation.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MT