Touring the People’s Center

Harvest Hosts is a unique RV membership program with a large network of available hosts. So far, 3294+ locations have opened their hearts and their homes and/or businesses to members of the Harvest Hosts RVing community. Through this program, members receive overnight accommodations with no camping fees in peaceful and serene places across North America. In return, members are asked to make a purchase to patronize the small business that hosts them. Of these Hosts, The People’s Center of the Kootenai, Pend d’Oreille, and Salish Tribes is particularly unique and informative. Here, you can learn all about this museum’s history, its operations today, its origins within the Harvest Hosts community, and what future visitors can expect to experience.

The History

The People’s Center of the Kootenai and Salish Tribes first opened in 1994 with their exhibit titled, “The First Sun The Beginning.” This exhibit consisted of a series of important cultural pieces and has since grown extensively, now spanning about 1,200 square feet. The large display provides visitors with insight into the lives of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai tribes. 

Because the exhibit works best with traditional use of oral history, visitors may be challenged to understand the exhibit’s meaning. To aid in the interpretation of this exhibit, the Center provides scheduled personal guided museum tours, or the use of an audio presentation (which can be started upon your request). The auditory history allows visitors to hear personal stories and tribal history. With a personal guide, or audio portion narrated in Kootenai, Salish, or the English language, a visitor can walk around the small developed room and obtain an idea for what it must have been like before, and after, Europeans entered the country.

The Business Today

In addition to the large, main room exhibit, The People’s Center continues to offer cultural education classes and activities. They offer group tours and activities, with crafting assistance, as well. Occasionally, they even have tribal elders telling stories of the old days, mostly in their native language with translations. They are open on weekdays from September through May and from Monday through Saturday from June through August. Admission is very reasonable, and visitors truly learn a lot during their visits.

The People’s Center Gift Shop has a beautiful collection of authentic and local, one-of-a-kind Native American artists’ work for sale. These include paintings, photos, bead work, painted skulls, jewelry, and more. The items for sale are entirely handcrafted. The gift shop also sells a large selection of beads in cuts, tri-cuts and seeds, along with beading supplies, such as threads, needles, wax and more.

Joining Harvest Hosts

The People’s Center joined the Harvest Hosts program about four years ago, and they have hosted many RVers since. The museum parking lot is quiet and peaceful. This allows RVers to return to their RV for a restful night’s sleep after touring the museum. Museum operators encourage visitors to come and visit for themselves to enrich their knowledge and understanding of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai Tribes. They wish for future guests to come and share a part of their lives, their history and their culture through their museum and the rotating exhibits in their education room. Currently, they have three pet-friendly spaces available for RVs less than forty-four feet in length.

The People’s Center is an excellent example of the informational and educational experiences that are available through Harvest Hosts. Be sure to check it out if you are visiting Western Montana or headed towards Glacier National Park.

Have you ever visited The People’s Center? Would you like to visit? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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