Montana: Fort Belknap


The Fort Belknap Reservation is home to the Gros-Ventre and Assiniboine Sioux. The Assiniboine (Nakoda) split with the Yanktonai Sioux in the 17th century and migrated to the Northern Plains. The Gros-Ventre (Aaniiih) and Assiniboine were nomadic hunters and warriors who depended on buffalo for food, clothing and tipis. When the buffalo population was decimated by White hunters, the tribes agreed to settle on reservations for survival. The Assiniboine live on both the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations in Montana and on several reservations in Canada. 

History of the Reservation: Fort Belknap initially served as a trading post and a government agency. The Assiniboine Nation and the Gros-Ventre, confederates of the Blackfeet Nation, signed the Fort Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1855 to establish their territories. A congressional act in 1888 established the Fort Belknap Reservation. 

Life on the Reservation: Today, more than 7,000 people are enrolled in the Gros-Ventre and Assiniboine tribes, and sources say 1,400 to 3,500 live on the reserve. Ranked fifth in land base, the Fort Belknap Reservation is nearly 827,000 acres of rolling plains. Most of the residents work in ranching and farming. The Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Fort Belknap Tribe also provide jobs. The Little Rockies Meat Packing Company, Inc. is the first tribally owned, USDA-inspected meat packing facility in the U.S. In addition, tourism and the sale of local arts and crafts help drive the Fort Belknap economy. Despite these outlets, 2 in 5 residents (40%) live below the poverty line, with 34% of the workforce unemployed. The median household income is $29,000.  

Fort Belknap on the map: North-central Montana 


Income, Poverty, Population and and 


Land Size, General Info and  


General Info