Pablo was named for Michel Pablo, a Flathead Chief, rancher and stockman who, by raising bison, is one of the individuals responsible for saving the bison from extinction. Walking Coyote, a Pen d'Oreille Indian hunting in the Milk River country, brought a few bison calves back to the Flathead Valley and sold them to Pablo and Charles Allard. They were the nucleus of the herd that now roams the National Bison Range. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
Pablo is the headquarters for the Flathead Indian Reservation and lies at the base of the Mission Mountains south of Flathead Lake. Government offices for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes moved to Pablo in the late 1970s because of its central location on the Flathead Reservation. The Salish-Kootenai College was established in 1977. It has a library that holds an extensive collection of history books about the Native American Tribes.
Of special interest are the Ninepipe and Pablo Wildlife Refuges, Arlee Powwow in early July and Standing Arrow Pow Wow in Elmo in mid-July, as well as the Sqelix'u/Aqtsmaknik Cultural Center, which takes its name from the Salish-Kootenai languages meaning "the People's." Reflecting the people's desire to establish a center aimed at promoting, preserving and enhancing Salish-Kootenai culture, The People's Center was officially established in the fall of 1990. The facility lies north of Pablo on Highway 93 and includes exhibits, collections of Salish-Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille people, a learning center and gift shop. Educational day programs are available. The center tells the native story and shows the way of life as it has passed from generation to generation.
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