Common Ground, Sacred Bonds

A vibrant red-purple sunset over a lake
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, USFWS. View in Flickr.

Honoring Our Past

At the Ninepipe and Pablo Refuges, visitors will find multilingual signs featuring the Séliš (Salish), Ql̓ispé (also known as Pend d’Oreille or Kalispel), Ksanka (also known as Kootenai) and English languages. These signs bear the names of the refuges in each language, as well as an English translation of the name’s meaning. For example, the Séliš-Ql̓ispé name for Pablo National Wildlife Refuge translates to “Trees-Tapering-to-a-Point Human-made Lake.” The new signs also bear the logo of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to acknowledge that the refuges are on land owned by the Tribes.

Sign on Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge shown in English, Séliš-Ql̓ispé, and Kootenai languages. English text reads Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dept. of the Interior. Located on the land owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Designated as a Refuge by Tribal request. Séliš-Ql̓ispé text reads Nx̣n̓tá Sck̓ʷul̓ Čɫq̓lí (Ninepipe Human-made Lake). Kootenai text reads Kqaykit̓wu Kus K̓ituq̓nu·kiniŧ (Ninepipe Human-made Lake).
Sign at Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge.
Sign on Pablo National Wildlife Refuge shown in English and Séliš-Ql̓ispé languages. English text reads Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dept. of the Interior. Located on the land owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Designated as a Refuge by Tribal request. Séliš-Ql̓ispé text reads X̣ʷeyʔilqsa̒lqʷ Sck̓ʷul̓ Čɫq̓lí (Trees-Tapering-to-a-point Human-made Lake)
Signs at Pablo National Wildlife Refuge.
Prairie People: A Terrain Well-Traveled. For the last 12,000 years, this region  has been occupied by native peoples. In the 1700s, the Assiniboine tribe  considered this area part of their traditional homelands. In the 1800s,  the Sioux, Cree, and Meti settled here. Today, nearby Fort Peck Reservation is  home to two separate nations of Assiniboine and Sioux. The waters of Medicine Lake and the countless wetlands that dot the prairie provided all that was needed.
Sign to be installed at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. View in full screen (508-compliant PDF).

History of Ninepipe & Pablo National Wildlife Refuges

More than a century ago, the Tribes began to campaign for the federal government to designate the Ninepipe and Pablo reservoir areas within the Flathead Indian Reservation as refuges for game and bird conservation. After multiple requests from the Tribes, President Harding issued two Executive Orders in 1921, establishing Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuges. In 1948, FWS secured a perpetual easement from the Tribes to use the lands as National Wildlife Refuges.

A reservoir surrounded by lakes, wetlands, and grasslands backdropped by snow-capped mountains
Pablo National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.

History of Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge

For the last 12,000 years, Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota have been home to Native peoples. In the 1700s, the Assiniboine Tribe considered the land comprising the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding area part of their traditional homelands. In the 1800s, the Sioux, Cree and Meti settled there. Today, nearby Fort Peck Reservation is home to two separate nations of Assiniboine and Sioux. Tribes historically used this area while hunting big game herds and waterfowl, so many of the surrounding hills contain stone rings indicating locations of ancient campsites.

A gravel road descends into a low-lying prairie wetland
Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Jamieson Scott, USFWS. View in Flickr.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We’re dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.