Fort Belknap Indian Community
Buffalo Horse, Inc. (BHI) is owned by the Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC), located in Harlem Montana on the reservation.
FBIC is homeland to the Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) and the Assiniboine (Nakoda) Tribes. FBIC is located forty miles south of the Canadian border and twenty miles north of the Missouri River, which is the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. FBIC is the forth largest Indian reservation in Montana.
FBIC was created by an Act of Congress on May 1, 1888 and the Fort Belknap Agency was established at its present location, four miles southeast of the present township of Harlem, Montana. Fort Belknap has a tribal membership of 7,000 enrolled members.
Gros Ventre & Assiniboine Tribes
The Gros Ventre call themselves "AH-AH-NE-NIN" meaning the White Clay People. They believed that they were made from the White Clay that is found along the river bottoms in Gros Ventre country. Early French fur trappers and traders named this tribe "Gros Ventre" because other tribes in the area referred to them as "The Water Falls People." The sign for water fall is the passing of the hands over the stomach and the French thought the Indians were saying big belly so they called them "Gros Ventre" meaning "big belly" in the French language.
The Assiniboine refer to themselves as "Nakoda" meaning the generous ones. This tribe split with the Yanktonai Sioux in the seventeenth century and migrated westward onto the northern plains with their allies, the Plains Cree. "Assiniboine" is a Chippewa word meaning, "One who cooks with stones." The Assiniboine are located on both the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations in Montana and on several reserves in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The Gros Ventre and Assinboine were nomadic hunters and warriors. They followed the buffalo which provided them with all the necessities of life. Their food, clothing and teepees all came from the buffalo. The buffalo was the Indian staff of life and the Gros Ventre and Assinboine and other plains tribes lived a good life with the buffalo. The last herd of buffalo in the continental United States in the nineteenth century existed between the Bear Paw Mountains and the Little Rocky Mountains in the lush Milk River valley.
Today, the two tribes are united as one government called FBIC. Together, the tribes have formed and maintained a community that has deep respect for it's land, it's culture, and it's heritage. Fort Belknap derives its name from the original military post that was established on the Milk River, one mile southwest of the present town of Chinook, Montana. The Fort, named for William W. Belknap, who was the Secretary of War at that time, was a military fort combined with a Trading Post. It became a Government agency for the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Indians living in the area.