Information about the Schitsu'umsh

The Coeur d'Alene are a First Nations/Native American people who lived in villages along the Coeur d'Alene, St. Joe, Clark Fork and Spokane Rivers; as well as sites on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Lake Pend Oreille and Hayden Lake, in what is now northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana.

In their language, members call themselves, Schitsu'umsh (or Skitswish), meaning The Discovered People or Those Who Are Found Here. Early French fur traders in the late 18th or early 19th century gave them their non-native name. The name, Coeur d'Alene means Heart of an Awl, referring to the perceived shrewdness of the trading skills exhibited by the tribe.


The native language is Coeur d'Alene, a Salishan language.


Traditional lands

For thousands of years the Schitsu’umsh lived in what would become the Panhandle region of Idaho. Originally the tribe roamed an area of over 4 million acres (16,000 km²) of grass-covered hills, camas-prairie, forested mountains, lakes, marshes and river habitat in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana. The territory extended from the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille in the north running along the Bitterroot Range of Montana in the east to the Palouse and North Fork of the Clearwater Rivers in the south to Steptoe Butte and up to just east of Spokane Falls in the west. At the center of this region was Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d’Alene lived in areas of abundance that included trout, salmon, and whitefish. The tribe supplemented hunting and gathering activities by fishing the St. Joe River and the Spokane River. They used gaff hooks, spears, nets, and traps and angled for fish.

Reservation lands

That Coeur d'Alene lands were reduced to approximately 600,000 acres (2,400 km²) in 1873 when U.S. President Ulysses Grant established the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation by Executive Order. Successive government acts cut their property to 345,000 acres (1,400 km²) near Plummer, south of the town of Coeur d’Alene.


Neighboring tribes

  • Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
  • Kootenai-Salish (Flatheads)
  • Nez Perce
  • Spokane


    The early tribal economy was based upon hunting, fishing, and gathering. Dissatisfaction with treaties being negotiated for tribal lands led to battles with federal troops in 1858.

    Economic status

    • Tribal businesses include The Coeur d'Alene Casino, Hotel, and Circling Ravens Golf Course facilities north of Worley, Idaho. Tribal gaming employs about 500 and generates about $20 million in profits annually, funding programs and creating economic development and diversity.
    • The tribe operates the Benewah Automotive Center, the Benewah Market, and Ace Hardware located in Plummer, Idaho.
    • The tribal farm covers about 6,000 acres (24 km²) and produces wheat, barley, peas, lentils, and canola.

  • DeSmet
  • Plummer
  • Tensed
  • Worley Tribal services Health and wellness

    The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has a health care facility which opened in 1998 named the Benewah Medical Center. The center was recognized as a national model for Indian Health Care and rural health care. The clinic provides comprehensive primary care services including dental, mental health services and community health outreach services to both the Native American population and general community.

    Indian Health Service


    Coeur d’Alene tribal School

    Natural Resource Management

    Tribal traditions include a respect and reverence for natural law, and for responsible environmental stewardship. The tribe is active in the protection, conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources; as well as conservation issues that impact tribal resources. U.S. courts recently ruled that the tribe has jurisdiction over the lower third of Lake Coeur d’Alene, as well as 20 miles of the St. Joe River. The State of Idaho is appealing that decision.

    Plummer Wind Energy Project


    Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

    The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:

    What are the most spoken languages on earth?

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