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Chinook, Montana is the county seat of Blaine County. As settlers moved into Indian Territory, the Treaty of 1855 was an attempt to make peace between the settlers and the Indians, particularly the Nez Perce, who inhabited the region. Although the treaty was ratified in 1859, the discovery of gold on reservation land in 1860 put a short end to it, as it was violated by many of the white settlers and others who came looking for gold. A second treaty was formed, reducing the size of the Indian Reservation. With many of the Nez Perce unhappy with the terms of this agreement, the Nez Perce split into five bands, some accepting the terms of the treaty, while others rejected it. In 1877, a Nez Perce band led by Chief Joseph were camped at Snake Creek, near the Bear’s Paw Mountains, seventeen miles from where Chinook is now located. On October 5, 1877, following a five-day battle with the U.S. Army, Chief Joseph surrendered and the Nez Perce were sent to a reservation in Nebraska. Chinook was founded by settlers looking for farmland in northern Montana and, in 1886, a railway was laid. By 1903, Chinook had hotels, businesses, churches, schools, a telephone system, power plant, railway, and productive farm and ranch land. The court house was built in 1914. Chinook is located on Highway 2, east of Lohman and west of Zurich. Saskatchewan, Canada is not far to the north.


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