History of SKC

Salish Kootenai College (SKC) began as a branch campus of Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) occupying office space donated by Polson School District. Beginning in the Winter term of 1977, the Reservation Extension Center boasted 16 part-time faculty and 49 students. The Center offered 45 credits at seven sites around the reservation. That same year, a resolution was passed by Tribal Council to formally establish a tribal college on the Flathead Reservation. The college subsequently applied for membership in the new AIHEC (American Indian Higher Education Consortium) organization, at the time a consortium of 12 colleges.The following academic year, the college had six full-time faculty and eventually moved to Pablo. The early years were difficult and funding was largely by grants, but in October of 1978, the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act was passed and provided a stable funding base. In 1981, the college broke ties with FVCC and formally called itself Salish Kootenai College. The first academic catalog (1979-1981) listed three degree and four certificate programs, 117 courses, and a total enrollment of 142 students. SKC became accredited in 1984, the first tribal college in the Northwest to accomplish the goal. In 1989, the registered nursing program was established, only the third in the nation at a tribal college. And by its tenth year, the new catalog (1989-1991) identified six buildings, nine degree and five certificate programs, 310 courses, and 540 full-time students.The decade of the 90’s saw a ten-year accreditation in 1994. Several buildings were purchased from the tribes. Land was purchased to the east and south of the present campus and a new Fine Arts Center, Science Facility and golf course are at or near completion.