Three Chiefs Culture Center
Explore the artifacts and exhibits, hear the stories of their people, and participate in cultural activities, traditional arts and crafts, cultural education, Native games and other events.
In the heart of western Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation is a unique cultural center, the Three Chiefs Cultural Center, formerly named “The People’s Center.” The original building burnt down in an arson fire in September 2020.
After extensive loss and recovery, the center staff chose to “rebrand” the center and display the collections that survived. Owned and operated by the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille tribes, the new Three Chiefs Culture Center is temporarily housed in a log building built several years ago for Colonel Doug Allard as his first restaurant. It will continue to be more than a museum; it is a vital, living encounter with Native American culture.
Even though our entire facility was burned in September 2020, we have many articles that were pulled from the building, saved to be exhibited again, articles to help us continue to tell our stories and histories. We were uncertain of our future after the fire and searched within ourselves and each outer to find new hope in what we do as staff of the museum and culture center. We have had many people supporting us and lifting our spirits and giving us encouragement to move forward. We have picked up the pieces and started again, working on a new direction without forgetting all the years we have been open for and serving our people and others. We are still here, in a different location but our hearts and strong will are still here within us.
Three Chiefs Culture Center is a place to experience the rich cultures of the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille tribes. The traditions of these people have been passed down orally from generation to generation. As their lifestyles change with time and technology, they continue to preserve and protect their heritage, history and culture. Explore the artifacts and exhibits, hear the stories of their people, and participate in cultural activities, traditional arts and crafts, cultural education, Native games and other events. Visit the Center’s Gift Shop which has a beautiful collection of Native arts and Native made crafts.
The Three Chiefs Culture Center illustrates how the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille lived before and after the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 and the establishment of the Flathead Indian Reservation. The Tribes still thrive today and the Center honors this rich cultural heritage through our exhibits, storytelling, activities and presentations.
The museum collection
Our museum area is small as we are rebuilding exhibits with incoming new collections and collections pieces that were recovered from the fire at The People’s Center and are now being taken care of by trained conservators. Our collections received sever to minor heat, soot and water damage in the fire. The museum exhibits are where the most of our collections were recovered from. We are blessed that they were saved and are being cared for professionally. They will be returned and once again be displayed for you to see and learn from again.
Admission to the museum is “Donations” at this time to see the exhibits that tell the story of the devastating arson caused fire of September 6,2020 and how we are recovering and rebuilding. A horse exhibit, tribal history, articles on display that have been returned again such as Chief Martin Charlo’s vest.
Admission to the museum is “Donations” at this time.