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URING THE coming than the Flathead Lake, flowing like an
autumn, the Flathead inland sea among hills of tender green.
reservation will be Not only is the country rich in grandeur D thrown open to settle- of scene--it is likewise possessed of a ment in pursuance
wealth of tradition and historical incident with the Govern
soon to sink forever into the oblivion of mental policy of turn- an unrecorded past.
ing the Indian from Before the final division and disintehis natural, nomadic life, and through the gration, when storied landmark and mythpeaceable coercion of husbandry, “absorb- hallowed object will be swept aside by the ing him into our civilization.” The ex- rush of the incoming world, it is profitperiment is a precarious one for the In- able and pleasant to look back upon the dian, since it involves at once the seizure past of Sin-yal-min and its environs. The of immense tracts of lands that were his huge, mountain-locked valley was for genand the destruction of the race-old habits erations the secret of the Indians until of his kind. But the solving of the Indian Alexander, the Kalispehlm chief, led the problem, or in plainer words, his right to Jesuit fathers thither to establish the Misexist, is of lesser interest to the general sion of St. Ignatius, thus delivering to public than the fact that thousands and them, as the greatest proof of confidence tens of thousands of commercially valu- and love, a second Promised Land. able acres will be opened to the eager The fields were rich with wild grain, the white settlers who still push westward, neighboring foothills sheltered abundant hunting for something of that legended game, and the streams, feeling their way treasure which tempted the early argo- with silver fingers from the mountains, nauts to brave the hardships and perils of swarmed with trout. There in the outthe wilderness.
spread palm of the valley, the good priests The home of the Flathead, more established their mission, and some of the properly speaking, the Selish tribe, was Indians settled about the little community destined inevitably to become the prey of of log cabins, which was destined to bethe home-seeker, for in all these United come one of the most important instituStates there are few fairer valleys than tions of its kind in the Northwest. Of Sin-yal-min, few more magnificent heights these Indians there were a few who became than the snow-topped mountains that pro- independently well off, and the wealthiest tect it, and few more noble bodies of water of them all, Michel Pablo, a half-breed,
raised upon those vast fields and uplands and abandoned his squaw for à fairer the largest band of buffalo of modern daughter of an alien tribe and brought uptimes—the Allard-Pablo herd. (For a fur- on himself the condign wrath of the ther account of the Allard-Pablo herd see fathers, captured three or four buffalo to “The National Buffalo Park” in the take to them as a propitiatory offering.
degree of punishment he must suffer for that gleams quick-silver bright amid the his transgression. However, he became green level of the grass. They are abanfaint of heart, and the buffalo passed into doned wallows—the one remaining trace the possession of Michel Pablo.
From of the vanished herds. this nucleus was bred the band of six hun- The valley proper and the hills and dred. Until a few years ago the animals glades adjoining it abound in exquisite recould be seen feeding in the goodly pas- treats, each with its myth and story, and tures of the valley, and still the last out- in the deep, silent clefts of the Mission lawed remnant, grown vicious and cun- range, still calied by the Indians Sin-yal
ning with long pursuit, wanders at liberty min, are wonderful waterfalls and lakes. in the neighboring hills of the little Bitter It is a magnificent view that breaks upon Root. Even now the traveler, riding by one after ascending the foothills stage coach from the railway station at finally emerging upon their crest. BeRavalli to the shores of Flathead Lake, can neath, below, flows a tide of waving green see curious indentures filled with water flecked with a myriad of mirror-like pools and beyond, across the entire breadth of disappearing in the mystery of haze which the valley, the mighty serrated mountain- shrouds the gorges below. In these gorges chain rises abruptly in aspiring violet pin- are wonder-spots seldom disturbed by the nacles, into the sublimity of perpetual presence of man. We shall have space to
. snow. At that distance, through miles of examine only a few of them, made doubly
vibrant white atmosphere,
gossamer attractive by some recollection of the early thread, seemingly as fragile as a spider's days or by an Indian myth as pale and web, may be seen spinning its length from shapeless as the mist that clings about the the silvered crests of the highest peaks and mountain's brow.