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self-designation of the Native American people of Montana also known as Flathead, from a term containing -ish "people." The language group that includes their tongue has been called Salishan.
linguistic grouping of North American Indian tribes speaking related languages and living in the upper basins of the Columbia and Fraser rivers and their tributaries in what are now the province of British Columbia, Can., and the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. They are commonly called the Interior Salish to distinguish them from their neighbours, the Coast Salish tribes who resided on the Northwest Pacific Coast. The Salish tribes comprised mainly the Coeur d'Alene, Columbia, Cowlitz, Flathead, Kalispel, Lake, Lillooet, Nespelem, Okanagon, Sanpoil, Shuswap, Sinkaietk (southern Okanagon), Spokan, Thompson, and Wenatchee peoples, all of whom spoke various Salishian languages. Salish was formerly a native name for the Flathead alone; by the mid-20th century, however, it was more often broadly applied to the entire group