Locals and visitors in Sandpoint explore and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, rivers and lakes of this area that we call home, but long before the first white settlers arrived and the Great Northern Railroad steamed into Sandpoint, this area was populated by several tribes of Native Americans: The Kootenai, Kalispel and Coeur d’Alene.
The Kalispel Tribe called the area along Lake Pend Oreille that is now Sandpoint home, with ancestral territories stretching from Pend Oreille and Priest lakes, up the Pend Oreille River into Canada. Called the “Canoe People” or “Lake Paddlers” by neighboring tribes, the semi-nomadic Kalispel tribe hunted, fished and gathered for their subsistence.
Fur trader David Thompson was one of the first settlers to establish a relationship and fur trading with the native tribes in 1880. By 1892, the Great Northern Railroad arrived in Bonner County, and the area was forever changed.