A Letter for the Teacher and Students

Dear Fellow Travelers,

This curriculum is about a journey, the journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It is also about the journey of a young country evolving through history. Underlying both of these is the journey of my Salish relatives and ancestors through time. They were present on this continent thousands of years before the first newcomers. The land the Lewis and Clark Expedition journeyed through was an old tribal world. This tribal world was well traveled by the Salish as their aboriginal territory included most of Montana and extended into Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. They traveled in seasonal cycles to beloved places they knew and named. These were intentional journeys, not nomadic wanderings.

As you participate in these learning activities, you will be taking a journey of sorts. Your first destination will be the Salish world of the past. This is a place that is not known by many people. It remains hidden even to many people who live next to us as neighbors on the Flathead Indian reservation. Sadly, it is not familiar even to some of the descendants and heirs of that world. You will have the opportunity to explore places, knowledge, and stories understood by a small group of people, many of them elders. Keep this in mind as you travel through this place and understand that I am sharing something precious with you.

While you travel, I ask you to keep an open mind and heart. Some roads may take you to places that are unfamiliar. Some turns in the road may seem sharp and uncomfortable. Hold on, the way will become smooth as we gain understanding and the ability to negotiate paths that are different and unknown to us. Always bear in mind that this is your journey. You choose what you will make of it and what you will take away from it.

Remember that life is a journey. If we always stay on the same, well-worn path, think of all that we will miss.


My best to you,