Native Americans were the early users of the area now called Milltown, Bonner, and West Riverside. A well-worn trail to and from the buffalo led through Hellgate Canyon on the north side to the junction of the Blackfoot River, where it forked. The trail was used by Salish, Pend D’Oreille, Nez Perce and others.
The Bonner area was recognized for its bull trout fishery, and there were campsites along the river. In fact, the Salish name for the confluence of the Big Blackfoot and the Clark Fork means “the place of the mature bull trout.” The Salish Tribal Council notes that one of the elders born in 1910 remembers camping along the river in fall hunting season just upstream from Bonner while the men would fish in the Clark Fork just upstream from the confluence.
Check back soon for new content here. In the meantime visit website of the People's Center and the website for the book, The Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Both are efforts of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Also visit the Montana Tribes Digital Archive, a project of the state of Montana's Indian Education for All program.