Flathead Tribe

Flathead. A name applied to several different tribes usually owing to the fact that they were accustomed to flatten the heads of their children artificially. In S. E. United States the Catawba and Choctaw were sometimes designated by the term Flatheads, and the custom extended to nearly all Muskhogean tribes as well as to the Natchez and the Tonika. In the N. W. the Chinook of Columbia River, many of the Vancouver Island Indians, and most of the Salish of Puget Sound and British Columbia were addicted to the practice, and the term has been applied to all as a body and to some of the separate divisions. Curiously enough, the people now known in official reports as Flatheads the Salish proper never flattened the head. Dawson implies 1 that they were so named (Têtes-Plates) by the first Canadian voyageurs because slaves from the coast with deformed heads were among them. For the names of the tribes to which the term has been applied, see Flatheads in the index; consult also Artificial head deformation.

For Further Study

The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Flathead Tribe as both an ethnological study, and as a people.

  • See:Flathead Indian Allotments in Montana 1889


  1. Trans. Roy. Soc. Can. for 1891, sec. II, 6[]


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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