Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Flatheads (Salish, Selish), a group of Columbian Indians, whose domain formerly extended from the Cascade Range eastwards to the Rocky Mountains. By some ethnologists they are regarded as a branch of the Athabascan family, while others consider them an independent race speaking various dialects of a stock language. The Flatheads proper - that is, the Tetes-Plats of the early Franco-Canadian voyageurs - dwelt originally on the Flathead and Clarke affluents of the Columbia river, but are now mostly settled in the Flathead Agency, Montana. Many of the other members of the group are still known by the names given them by the Canadian pioneers, who had established trading relations with these Indians long before the Anglo-Americans reached the Pacific slope. Such are the Pend' Oreilles, Nez-Perces, and Cceurs d'Alene, though the ethnical and linguistic relations of these and other so-called Flathead tribes are still far from being clearly established. The term Flathead, given to the chief tribe from the practice of manipulating the skull in infancy, is equally and sometimes even more characteristic of all the other Salish tribes, and notably of the Chinooks of the Lower Columbia. Another common trait is the great love of ornaments inserted in the lobes of the ear, in the nostrils and lips. The Flatheads worship the sun, to whom they formerly made offerings of human victims, for which in later times were substituted slices of flesh voluntarily cut from their breasts by the chief's sons or the bravest women of the tribe.