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Missoula’s Sally Thompson sheds light on a little-known era of pre-Montana history on Saturday when she presents “A Jesuit Window Into Western Montana Life in the 1840s and ‘50s” at Fort Missoula.

The Montana Conversations program begins at 2 p.m. at the Northern Rockies Heritage Center, 3255 Fort Missoula Road. It’s free and open to the public thanks to funding by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Montana Cultural Trust and private donations.

Thompson's focus is on the time after the active fur trade in the region and before the treaties and arrival of government agents. She uses primary documents from history and anthropology as well as quotes from literature, interviews with Native American educators, and oral histories and folk traditions from area tribes to engage the audience in the recorded observations and skewed perceptions of European Jesuits.

Thompson is the author of the acclaimed 2015 book “People Before the Park: The Kootenai and Blackfeet Before Glacier National Park.”

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Mineral County, Veterans Issues Reporter

Outlying communities, transportation, history and general assignment reporter at the Missoulian