Abe Abraham’s Story

The following is the family history of Chief Abraham "Abe" Abraham published in The History of Boundary County, Idaho by the Boundary Co. Historical Society in 1987.

Abe Abraham is the eldest son of Chief Eneas Abraham (1881-1973) and Ann Mary Jacobs Abraham (1911-1976). He lived with his grandmother much of the time when he was growing up and learned many of the old ways from her. "My grandmother told me that during the winter the Indians commuted from here to Montana to hunt game whenever there was a shortage of food. They hunted in groups and would direct the deer into traps where the actual shooting would take place. The game was then distributed to the tribe, like a commune. Everybody was entitled. We survived in that manner as a group, not as individuals.

"I don't know what year my grandmother told me the first horse was brought in by white people near Moravia, where a small creek emptied into Mirror Lake. There was no word for it and the people translated it into saying "elk without antlers." They believed it was the image of an elk."

They traveled with canoes in earlier days and my grandparents from Creston, British Columbia, Canada, would come here with canoes and they would catch fish by the sacks full. They also had mud hen eggs taken from along the lakes near Creston. "Sometimes the snow was so deep that it buried the teepees so only the tops would show, but it was insulation from the wind. They used bear robes, grizzly robes, and buckskin for clothing."

Grandmother was seven when one war took place and she was fourteen when the treaty was finally signed. Peace was negotiated in Drainage District #1 between the Kalispells and the Coeur d'Alenes and it was quite a spectacle. In conducting the peace there were war chants, and people actually struck each other on any part of the body, and broke their weapons - bows, arrows, and tomahawks.

Grandmother saw scalps that were taken; you cut a strip about two and one-half inches wide on top of the head and then pull it off. "Before the pagan religion was discontinued, the tribe held Sun Dances. The Indians conducted their rites there with the Sun Dance image, an effigy about three feet high. The last Sun Dance was held in the 1930's and O-Say, Moses Joseph's father conducted the rites. Mrs. Rose (Perkins) Causton was the first white woman permitted to attend the rites, but from the outside only. She was not allowed in the big teepee. "

Piney Island is where Three Moons lies buried. Father DeSmet met with him there and religion was brought to the tribe. They were able to accept the Catholic faith because there is a parallel between that and the pagan religion. Three Moons accepted it and was baptized and the whole tribe followed."

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