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Heart of the Awl
People of the Panhandle Rivers

In French Coeur d' Alene translates roughly into "heart-of -the-awl". The French gave this appellation to the Schitsu'Umsh People because of their great experience and skill as traders. The People called themselves Schitsu'Umsh, meaning "Those Who Are Found Here".

One of the panhandle tribes, along with the Kalispel, Spokane, and Kootenai, the Schitsu'Umsh made their encampments along the Spokane, Coeur d' Alene, and St Joseph rivers. These tribes not only lived near one another, but the Schitsu'Umsh and Kaispel also shared similar languages. Both of these tribes spoke languages included in the Salish language family.

The Coeur d' Alene words for "rope", "snare", and netting" all describe the activity of using a rope or a snare and are translated as "means of tying".

The Schitsu' Umsh traded not only with the trabes within their region, but also with many of the tribes on the Pacific coast. The Coeur d' Alenes also traded with the Nez Perce, the Shoshoni and the Bannocks to the south and southeast. Idaho's Peoples knew one another and worked well together.

The site of the Steptoe Battle of 1858, near Rosalia, Washington, is called Pine Creek on the maps, but was called Hngwesumn by the Coeur d'Alenes. Hngwesumn means literally, "Place for fiber used for rope."

Let's Learn About The Coeur d' Alene People