Due to conflicts with federal authorities in the 19th century, the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe went without an Indian reservation for most of its history.
The Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians are part of the historical Pembina Band of Chippewa Indians, first recorded by European settlers in documents of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Garry in the early 18th century. These logs and diaries show the Ojibwa held approximately 63 million acres of land throughout what is now South Dakota, North Dakota and Canada. By the early 19th century, many French Canadian men, mostly fur trappers, had married into Ojibwe families.
The Pembina Band entered into a treaty with the United States in the 1863 Treaty of Old Crossing, together with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. In the 1892 McCumber Agreement between the Turtle Mountain Indians and the Commission, the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation was established, but the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians refused settlement there. Some of the Little Shell Band members did eventually settle on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. Others migrated north and west into Saskatchewan and Alberta, and then later made their way back south into Montana.
One hundred and Thirty years after seeking federal recognition, in December of 2019, with the
passage of the 2020 Defense Authorization Act, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of
Montana received federal recognition. The Tribe has over 6,500 enrolled members, 28% of whom
live in the non-contiguous, four-county service area. We have members in all fifty states and one foreign country.
Working together to provide services to foster development, growth, innovation and sustainability of the Little Shell Tribe
Our vision is the Little Shell Tribe are people who are healthy, self-sustaining, innovative and preserve traditional ways of life.