The Salish and Pend d’Oreille—known today as part of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana—have been part of the landscape of what is now Montana, Idaho, and eastern Washington ever since Coyote prepared the world for them. The Salish and Pend d’Oreille traditionally “managed” their “natural resources” by living in relationship with the land. European settlers directly and indirectly interfered with this relationship and imposed a very different view of natural resources management. Despite these relentless efforts, the Salish and Pend d’Oreille have survived the invasion of European colonization and made enormous strides to revive their ability to live in relationship with the land according to their traditional values. They have adopted and adapted environmental statutes that are familiar to federal agencies and to U.S. courts, which has allowed the Tribes to manage these tribal “natural resources” and create at least some space for the re-emergence of traditional land management practices and values. CSKT’s determination to live in relationship with the land and to manage it through a tribal perspective offers an example of working to reinsert traditional values into natural resource management, as well as a model for western society, struggling to overcome the vast environmental challenges facing humanity today.
Thompson, M. Jordan and Colwyn, Chelsea L.M., "Living Sqélix: Defending the Land with Tribal Law" (2019). Connecticut Law Review. 403.