Category Archives: Montana

Mrs. Andersson

Mrs. Andersson Gets Her Wish is the story of a widowed woman homesteader. Like the woman homesteaders in my previous short stories, she works tirelessly to be independent. At the same time she is stalwart soul of her community. Mrs. Andersson  supplies a liquid product that is much appreciated by many in those dreary days of hard toil, as well as in the dark, cold winters.

She fills out the final details of her life as if she anticipates moving her soul onto the next stage. She is a descendant of one of the families who sought to venture west to escape repression, and have a chance to make it in a new land. Her life impacts her whole community, in the form of her many acts of kindness. Her neighbors gather together to find that in so many ways she has touched and enriched each one of their lives.

This heroine story is the fifth of the collection of woman homesteader short stories to be published in time for before Christmas entitled A Life of Her Own. Together you will find that the stories are alike as colored glass in a mosaic . . . each with its own special shape and brilliant color.


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Where are the Native American tribes now?

The distribution of Western land mandated by the Homestead Acts resulted in a breakup of the cultural nucleus of Native Americans, and the accustomed lifestyle of many European immigrant homesteaders.The US Government’s theory was that if the land could be broken into small parcels every separate family would be more productive, and enjoy the benefits of ownership.

Montana homesteaders

Montana homesteaders

In fact for the immigrant homesteaders this produced a breakup of the type of community centered way of living they had followed for generations in Europe, which was to live in small towns and work the surrounding fields of the towns together.

Salish People

Salish Native Americans



Native Americans, the People, were wide-ranging hunters who also lived in large communities, but were forced to accept 640 acre plots for farming, to which they were unaccustomed.

The Salish were “reserved” a large part of the Bitterroot Valley, only to be later moved out of this land and replaced by homesteaders. They were then were moved to the Flathead Valley north of Missoula, where tribal members received 80 acre allotments, and forfeited the huge “reserved” federal lands in the Bitterroot Valley, which had been their ancestral home for centuries. The new “reserved” Flathead Valley land also was eventually privatized by homesteaders, some of whom coveted  even the small plots of  land the tribal members had individually acquired. Towns and merchant stores were built, and some of the Salish were encouraged to buy on credit. If they could not pay up they had to trade.They signed over their land allotments.

Where are the Native American tribes now? Today the Salish & Kootenai tribe’s reservation covers a large part of the lower Flathead Valley, but much of this land has become private agricultural property and homes. Only 23% of the population of Lake County, Montana is Native American.

The history of the West is tumultuous. It is difficult to comprehend the changes that took place in those years from 1862 to 1930. I was raised at the head of the Bitterroot Valley, part of that ancestral home of the Flathead Nation. Nearby my house, on the outskirts of Missoula, is a place where The People pitched their tepees. I was told that they had came down to the Valley from the surrounding mountains to spend the winter, and to dig for bitterroot. Those days are gone forever.

Have outside events radically changed your life? How does that compare to the radical changes in the West? I would love to hear your comments.

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