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Coeur d'Alene
Expedition Culture Geography People Maps Nature
  Aboriginal Territory and Neighbors
Tch’mutpkwe’ - and other Mountains
Chatq’ele’ - and other Lakes
Q'emiln - and other Rivers and Falls
Sq'wt'u - and other Prairies and Villages


To continue the discussion on landscape of the Schitsu'umsh, consider visiting:

  • The Land, on the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's home page.

    Chatkolet Lake and mouth of the St.Joe River with St. Joe Baldy in the distance

  • Camas on the Palouse, ca. 1853
    For the Schitsu’umsh it is in the landscape - the lakes and mountains, the rivers and parieries - that is their "home." An "awe"-inspired sense of "home" is in Lake Coeur d’Alene, on Grassy and St. Joe Baldy mountains, along the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe Rivers. "Home" is in the herds of deer, the fields of camas and patches of huckleberries that stretch from the Bitterroot Mountains to the Palouse Prairie. It has been home to Schitsu’umsh "since time immemorial," since the Creator and Coyote and Chief Child of the Yellow Root and the other First Peoples first prepared the land for the coming of the human peoples. It is a landscape richly embedded with "gifts" of all kinds and with the mi'yep, the teachings that instruct in how to properly share and nurture those gifts. It is a landscape within which the Animal Peoples are the "brothers" and "family" to the human peoples and to the Schitsu’umsh. It is a landscape that can offer each person a suumesh song and Animal Spirit to watch over and protect for a lifetime. As the landscape had nourished and provided each person that which was necessary for life, it is also the landscape each of us will return to upon death, "going on ahead to find the best berry patches and grazing fields for the horses, to set up the camp for the rest of the family who will be coming."

    Powwow Regalia, July 2001
    Despite the seemingly unending series of challenges first ushered in by Lewis and Clark, as the oral traditions continue to be told, the songs of the Sweat House sung and the regalia of the powwow worn, the landscape continues to reverberate with the teachings of the First Peoples. It is at once a landscape having been defined and given life by the Amotqn (Creator) and First Peoples before the coming of human peoples, as it is a landscape reinvigorated and renewed by the human acts of continuing to sing and tell of the First Peoples. It is not a place limited to the constructions and definitions imposed upon it by human intentions, be they Schitsu’umsh or suyepmsh. As one elder commented, "the soul of our tribe is those mountains and those waters." Much more than merely soil, rock and water, what the Schitsu’umsh call "home" is a morally and spiritually endowed landscape, interlinked by enduring bonds of kinship and family.

    © Coeur d'Alene Tribe 2002

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