There is no satisfactory explanation for the term “Flathead,” for these Salish-speaking people never practiced head flattening (though other Salish tribes did). The Flathead also differed from their Salish kinsmen by leaving the river valleys of the Columbia drainage and moving onto the plains of central Montana. Here they evolved a culture based largely on the buffalo while maintaining the religious and social traditions of the Northwest coast.
Like other Salish tribes, the Flathead were generally friendly to whites as they entered Montana. The tribe was moved from the Bitterroot Valley and settled on the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition