Montana Before Montana
Montana’s First Peoples called this place home long before the arrival of Euro-Americans and other latecomers. For millennia, the ancestors of today’s Plains and Plateau tribes surmounted the oftentimes harsh elements and developed diverse cultures that thrived in the land we now know as Montana. The introduction of guns and horses into the region in the early 1700s dramatically altered—but did not end—centuries-old lifeways. At the turn of the nineteenth century, non-Indians began to venture into the area. At first they did not come to stay, but to explore what was, to them, an unknown land and to harvest its wealth, initially in the form of beaver furs. Eventually, these newcomers would have an even greater impact on Montana’s aboriginal peoples than did the arrival of guns and horses.