Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation

The Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation is a federally recognized tribe of Lower Kalispel people, located in Washington. They are an Indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau.

Kalispel Indian Community
of the Kalispel Reservation
Lake Pend Oreille, traditional Kalispel homeland
Total population
over 400 enrolled members[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Washington)
Kalispel language, English[2]
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
other Kalispel/Pend d'Oreilles peoples,[3] Chewelah people[4]


The Kalispel Reservation, located in Usk in Pend Oreille County, Washington. It was founded in 1914 and is 4,557 acres (18.44 km2) large.[4][1]


The tribe's headquarters is in Cusick, Washington. The tribe is governed by a democratically elected, five-member tribal council. The current administration is as follows:

  • Chairman: Glen Nenema
  • Vice-Chairman: Raymond Pierre III
  • Secretary: Darren Holmes
  • Council Member: Betty Jo Peingkham
  • Council Member: Curt Holmes.[5]


Traditionally, Kalispel people spoke the Kalispel language, an Interior Salish language.[3]


Kalispel people are thought to have come from British Columbia. In the 18th century, the Niitsitapi people pushed them from the Great Plains to Pend d'Oreille River and Lake Pend Oreille.[3] The town of Kalispell, Montana is named after the tribe.

In 1809, David Thompson opened a trading post for the North West Company of Montréal in their territory.[3] A Roman Catholic mission was founded in the 1840s.[4] The Upper Kalispel were forced onto an Indian reservation in Montana, while the Lower Kalispel remained on their homelands in Washington.[1]

The tribe refused to sign a treaty proposed by the US government in 1872. In 1875, there were only 395 Lower Kalispel. Non-Natives claimed reservation lands under the Homestead Act, and economic opportunities for tribal members were minimal. In 1965, the average tribal member's income was $1,400, and there was only one telephone for the entire tribe.[1]

Economic development

The tribe owns and operates the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, located in Airway Heights, Washington. The resort features Masselow's, Epic Sports Bar, Fai's Noodle House, Qdoba, Rivers Edge Buffet, Fatburger, The Deli, Marketplace, Thomas Hammer Coffee, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, and Movie & Dinner Theatre as well as several bars and nightclubs: Legends of Fire, Fireside Lounge, Liquid, and the Turf, and La Rive Spa.[6]

The tribe owns the franchise rights to Fatburger in the Eastern Washington region, having opened a restaurant in Spokane's 5-Mile district. [7]


  1. "Kalispel Tribe." Northwest Portland Art Indian Health Board. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  2. "Kalispel-Pend d’Oreille." Ethnologue. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. Pritzker 257
  4. Pritzker 258
  5. "Government: Business Council." Kalispel Tribe of Indians. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  6. "Northern Quest Resort and Casino." 500 Nations. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  7. "Fatburger". Kalispel Tribe of Indians. Retrieved 8 December 2013.


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.
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