Isadore, Kutenai,185?-1894,
He was chief of the Ktunaxa and a very influential presence in the area during the late 19th century through an intense period of change. As the buffalo herds of the prairies of Alberta and Montana diminished and cut off the Ktunaxa from their traditional food supply, the hunters shifted to cattle raising and farming. At the same time settlers were entering the valley in search of gold and staying to take land. Chief Isadore, described by Superintendent Sam Steele as the most influential chief he had ever encountered, was born into a position of authority and was able to use his strong personality and personal wealth to lead his people. He also formed a strong connection to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the St. Eugene Mission, which added to his authority but was unable to prevent the changes around him from affecting his people and their lifestyle. When, in 1884, Indian Commissioner Peter O’Reilly set aside land for Chief Isadore and his people, he probably did not consider all the needs and wants of those most affected. The offer excluded the land known traditionally as A’qkis ga’kleet, later as Joseph’s Prairie and then Cranbrook, which was a major camping spot and had been used for his horses as well as the plentiful hunting and fishing by Chief Isadore and his people for years. Colonel James Baker ignored Chief Isadore’s claims to Joseph’s Prairie and his long history of use of the land there, and tensions increased until only Superintendent Sam Steele in 1887 was able to set up negotiations resulting in a stand down. In later years, Chief Isadore focused on his farm and land on the edge of the Kootenay River. He died in 1894 from a strain of the flu that infected many of his people that winter. At his funeral he was described as a remarkable person with strong will and considerable authority.

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