On Monday, the Missoula County Commissioners will officially name the new meeting room in the Courthouse Annex after the late Sophie Moiese, one of the most highly respected Salish cultural leaders of the 19th and 20th centuries.

County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier explained the significance of the gesture.

“The reality is that those of us who live in Missoula County live in Indian country,” said Strohmaier. “This is the traditional homeland of the Salish and Pondera people, so it’s great to have an opportunity to partner with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes and help people understand an important part of their heritage.”

Strohmaier said Sophie Moiese was a vital part of the history of the 19th and 20th centuries in western Montana.

“Sophie Moiese lived from 1864 to 1960 and was a very honored elder of the Salish people,” he said “She was one of the leaders who would participate in or partially lead groups to gather Bitterroot in the Missoula valley. For those of you who don’t know the Missoula valley was one of the richest and most productive Bitterroot gathering areas in the region.”

Strohmaier said there will be a special ceremony inside the meeting room at noon on Monday, featuring a blessing by Tony Incashola, an honor song by the tribal drumming group Yamncut, and a proclamation by the County Commissioners.

The public is invited to attend.