History of Montana

Kiowa Indian

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Montana.

The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Montana resulted in the adoption of the Woodland culture but some tribes also adopted the Great Plains and Plateau cultures.

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Montana Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

History of Montana Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Montana
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Montana led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Montana Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Montana
The map of Montana provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Montana Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Montana.


State Map of Montana

State Map showing location of Montana Indians

State Map showing location of Montana Indians


Names of the Montana Indian Tribes
Montana is a state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Montana. The names of the Montana tribes included the Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboine, Atsina, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Kalispel, Kiowa (see above picture), Kutenai, Mandan, Nez Perce, Piegan, Salish (Flathead), Tunahe and the Spokane.

Fast Facts about the History of Montana Indians
The way of life and history of Montana Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Montana. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Montana Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Montana Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Montana Indians.

  • Name of State: Montana
  • Meaning of State name: Derivation of the Latin word "montaanus" which means mountainous
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Montana: Rocky Mountains and great plains.
  • Culture adopted by Montana Indians: Woodland culture but some tribes also adopted the Great Plains culture. In Western Montana some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture
  • Languages: Athabaskan, Algonquian, Siouan, Caddoan and Uto-Aztecan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunters and Fishers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Pit houses, tepees, tule-mat lodges

History Timeline of the Montana Indians
The history and the way of life of Montana Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Montana Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Montana Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Montana Indians. The mountains in the west were the homelands of the Bannack, Flathead, Kalispell, Kutenai, and Shoshone tribes. The Arapaho, Assiniboine, Atsina, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, and Crow tribes lived on the plains. The later tribes who inhabited Montana were the Sioux, Mandan, and Nez Perce. During the 1800's wars, battles and conflicts erupt between white settlers and American Native Indians including the Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboin, Atsina, Bannock, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Kalispel, Kiowa, Kutenai, Mandan, Nez Perce, Piegan, Salish, Tunahe and the Spokan tribes. The Indians are gradually forced to cede their lands

Montana History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Montana

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1000 AD: Woodland Period including the Hopewell cultures established along rivers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States which included trade exchange systems and burial systems

1000: Mississippian Culture established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States

1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1805: Choctaw and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Indian cessions open up land to white settlement during 1805 - 1806

1805: Lewis and Clark explore Montana 1805-1806:

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1835: Creek Alabama Uprising (18351837) in Alabama and Georgia along the Chattahoochee River which resulted in a defeat for the Creek forces and the removal of the Creek people from their native lands to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma see the Trail of Tears.

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1867: Hayfield Fight (1867) 31 US soldiers and civilians fought against more than 700 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors

1876: Great Sioux War (18761877). Battle of the Rosebud in Montana. Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne under Crazy Horse turned back soldiers commanded by General George Crook cutting off reinforcements intended to aid Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn

1876: 1876 - Battle of Little Bighorn, Montana. Sioux and Cheyenne defeated General Custer and the Seventh Cavalry.

1877: Nez Perce War in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. After fighting against the Americans Chief Joseph led his tribe 1700 miles to Canada but were forced to to surrender near the border

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1889: Montana was admitted to the Union

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Montana

State of Montana History Timeline

History of Montana Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Montana had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Montana Indians.


  • History of Montana Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Montana Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Montana tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Montana
  • History Timeline of the Montana Indians

State of Montana Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Montana Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Montana Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Montana Indians..


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