November 22, 2018


For November and #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth, we have compiled, and would like to share with you, some great online resources for researching Native American history, culture, and genealogy.

Much of the following was taken from Martha Kohl’s Educator listserv. If you are interested in joining the listserv, you can find more information about it here:

And, check out the listserv itself to get some awesome resources for teachers

Did you know? Montana  has updated its activities and resources; and is now mobile friendly.

Every year, the University of Montana’s School of Journalism publishes Native News, an annual look at issues facing Montana’s tribes. The 2018 edition addresses the topic of self-governance. One article visits Rocky Boy High School’s Helping Hands Program, while another article visits the Dakota language program at Fort Peck Community College. 

Native Land is a site that maps indigenous territories in the U.S. and Canada. It is, as its creator explains, "a work in progress." There are some things that may not ring true for Montana tribes (for example, the Salish and Kootenai don't have distinct territories on the map.) But, it is a useful tool for sparking discussion and worth checking out. Type in the name of your town and see what comes up.

And, we can always use more online maps: Tribal Nations Maps .

Below are a few new resources for learning and teaching more specifically about the Métis.

The first is 
The Métis of British Columbia: Culture, History, and the Contemporary Community. It's an online version of a DVD project created to help disseminate information on Métis history and culture that includes many short videos. There are two main sections: Culture, History, and Dance, and Music and Dance. Although it is from Canada, the material is relevant to Montana as well. 

Finally, from 
The Gabriel Dumont Institute's "Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture." This site has so much material that it is a bit daunting. But, all of it is excellent information.

Native American Genealogy Online Resources:

·        Access Genealogy - Native American is a great portal to most other websites for Native American Genealogy and includes:
o   Land Patent information for:
§  The Crow Tribe 
§  The Flathead Tribe
§  The Assiniboine Tribe - only one listing.
§  The Blackfeet Tribe - only 22 listings; however, the Blackfeet tribe has their own database of individuals (see below)

o   Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 for:
§  All tribes 1885-1940, digitized, but not keyword searchable

o   Indian Schools, Seminaries, and Missions – NARA has links to these, also, but this looks easier to navigate and includes the Fort Shaw Indian School 1910 Census.
·         Blackfeet Genealogy – launched in 2006, this is a great source for Blackfeet individual vital data.

 BLM Land Patents – search by state and county and name or legal land description.

·         Family Search - Native American sources – this is a great portal for most of the other links here. Search by record type and by tribe.

·         National Archives - BIA records  – Record Group 75
o   BIA Schools by state includes Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School in Montana and Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania
o    Tribal Leaders Directory  searchable directory for Tribal contact information

November 8, 2018

Helena’s Social Supremacy: A Shot Fired in the Capital Fight

by Sierra Ross, MHS Research Center Library Assistant

The fight between Anaconda and Helena to become state capital is often portrayed as a knockout match between the larger-than-life mining millionaires Marcus Daly and William A. Clark. However, the satirical pamphlet “Helena’s Social Supremacy” shows how the capital fight was historically characterized as a matter of social class and local pride as well. As you can imagine, this led to some highly personal jabs.

The so-called Helena Capital Committee wrote “Helena’s Social Supremacy” as a mock sequel to the legitimately pro-Helena pamphlet “An Address to the People of Montana.” They sought to make Helena look ridiculous through excessive compliment, beginning their sarcastic endorsement with the following quote:
“That Helena is the social as well as the commercial, financial, agricultural, metallurgical, meteorological, geographical, astronomical, geological, theological, apostolical, political, intellectual, literary, educational, musical, theatrical, legal, medical, metaphysical, artistic, hygienic and esoteric center of Montana, is a fact which should admit of no dispute…”
A fashionable hold-up at the Broadwater Bar, Helena, MT. 
Even Helena’s most unsavory sorts were cut from a finer cloth than that of Anaconda. The Committee informs us, “Helena’s criminal classes are uniformly courteous and gentlemanly, never doing more injury to your person or feelings than the necessities of the occasion absolutely demand.” A robbery at the Broadwater Bar provided the bulk of their evidence. 

The Broadwater Bar hold-up, as reported in the Helena Herald, August 18, 1894.
In addition to satirizing Helena’s well-to-do, the authors played on the Anaconda working class’s existing feelings of resentment. An entire chapter of the pamphlet is devoted to snubbing Anaconda miners from their big feet to their dirty coveralls. Another chapter blames Anaconda’s benefactor, Marcus Daly, for everything from forest fires to the assassination of French president Sadi Carnot. The grievances of Helena supporters seemed to have no end: 
  “Anaconda is lamentably lacking in tally-hoes, four-in-hands, drags, waxed floors, dress suits, Browning clubs, theosophical societies, ceramics, art coteries, eight-course dinners, ten-button gloves, skirt dancing and other social facilities.” 
 “It is impossible to walk the streets of Anaconda without seeing workingmen and their wives and children, and when the streets are crowded one cannot escape brushing against them.”.
 “…the thick, nauseous fumes of corned-beef and cabbage settle over the town like a pall…”
 “Anaconda allows no Chinaman within her limits, and all laundry work must be sent to establishments conducted by high-priced American citizens.”
“Neither Marcus Daly nor any other citizen of Anaconda has ever asked Helena’s permission to live.”     
The Committee also provided vital statistics of comparison to convince its most skeptical readers, including the number of closet skeletons, breastfeeding mothers, and ladies who gave high fives. 

Mock statistics comparing Helena and Anaconda.
As much as I’d like to imagine 2,731 ladies high-fiving each other after Helena became the state capital in 1889, the high five in question most likely refers to a card game also known as Cinch. A disappointment for sure, but you can’t win them all.


Helena Capital Committee. “Helena’s Social Supremacy: Montana’s Center of Fashion, Refinement, Gentility, Etiquette, Kettle Drums, High Fives, Progressive Euchre and Mixed Drinks.” Helena, Montana: Helena Capital Committee, 1894.

Newby, Rick. “Helena’s Social Supremacy: Political Sarcasm and the Capital Fight.” Montana: The Magazine of Western History 33, no. 4 (Autumn 1987): 68-72.