Salish ‘Return to the Homeland’ Walk to the Bitterroot
Members of the Salish Pend d'Oreille tribe began their return to homeland, a journey back to the Bitterroot Valley, on Thursday, October 13th. Organizers explain the purpose of the 3 day walk from the Jocko Valley to the Bitterroot.
Between the years of 1873 and 1891 all of the Bitterroot Salish were forcefully removed from the Bitterroot Valley. In the year of 1891 the last band of Bitterroot Salish were removed from the Bitterroot Valley on the morning of October 15. Led by Chief Charlo, they traveled 2 nights and three days to the Jocko Church on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
This is not a celebration but a time to honor our ancestors on a walk, horseback, bike, from Jocko Church to Stevensville. We will be camping 2 nights and will have a larger congregation at the Hwy 93 turn off walking in the last mile on October 15.
This is a way to thank and remember what our relatives sacrificed for us, and to learn what really happened, and to pass on to our youth the history of our Ancestors. This year will be 125 years since the removal.
As a member of the Salish tribe (my maiden name is Charlo), it was a real honor to catch up with the walkers today as they passed the radio station on Reserve around 11 a.m. I wanted so much to join the walk from the beginning, but am grateful that I will be able to join my family and tribe tonight and tomorrow for this extremely special and memorable walk of honor.
Walkers camped at the KOA campground in Missoula Thursday night and should arrive at the Chief Looking Glass campground this evening for dinner around 6 p.m. The walk will continue Saturday morning at 9 a.m. with the final destination being St. Mary's church in Stevensville. They will end the walk with the Honor Song, prayers, speakers and dinner.
Elders and children are also on this walk and I truly admire their commitment to our tribe and our ancestors. If you see them on their walking path, please give them a honk of encouragement and support. Lemlmtš