A message from Gary Aitken Jr.

Ki suk kyukyit,

Our proud people have been stewards of this fine land since time immemorial. When placed here, the creator made a covenant with the Ktunaxa people telling us “I have created you Kootenai people to look after this beautiful land, to honor, and guard, and celebrate my creation here, in this place. As long as you do that, this land will meet all of your needs…” This covenant has been our sacred doctrine and driving force ever since. It was set forth in our beginning and we hold it dear to this very day.   

Overcoming adversity and rising above challenges is the hallmark of our people. Resiliency is carried with us as a badge of honor. A long line of strong leadership with a prescient emphasis on securing a better future for our people has led to our success.

Our love of our people and community has helped us work with an extraordinary amount of people, including governmental and non-governmental entities, to achieve common goals and help us benefit our community as well as do our part to uphold our covenant. The collaborative efforts have led us to develop thriving relationships that span cultural, social, jurisdictional, political, and geographical boundaries.

Recognizing that all things are connected has led to the Kootenai Tribe being innovators in ecosystem recovery. The holistic approach that comes natural to our people has provided a clear path forward
in our species restoration efforts. We, as a Tribe, are proud of the remarkable ecosystem work we have been able to accomplish.

We are also proud of our business ventures such as the Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa. Our sumptuous resort has provided the Tribe and its member’s financial stability and has been a tremendous enhancement to the local community and economy. Through the success of our resort we are able to provide our people education
and employment opportunities, as well as supplement programs designed for our members’ health and well-being.

In our territory, farther than the eye can see, there are no places that Kootenai footsteps have not touched. With forward-minded guidance, continued honoring of past accomplishments and struggles, and a respectful way of engaging others, we will move forward into the future in a good way.

Hu suki q’ukni

Gary Aitken, Jr.

Gary Aitken Jr.

Tribal Chair

The Covenant

" I have created you Kootenai People to look after this beautiful land, to honor and guard and celebrate my Creation here, in this place.  As long as you do that, this land will meet all your needs..."