By Jim Robbins
The arrival of the exotic culture here in cowboy country, with multicolored prayer flags flapping in the breeze, made some from the Salish and Kootenai tribes uneasy, to say the least.
An unusual land ownership pattern was partly to blame. While most Indian reservations are majority-owned by the tribes, a 1904 law allowed nonmembers of the tribes to homestead land. And as a result, there are four to five times as many non-Indians on the reservation as there are Indians.
“Many people move here without recognition they are a guest,” Ms. Cajune said. “None of the mainstream churches or the Amish have done that.”
They point to the case of Amish families who have bought farmland within the reservation, said Ms. Cajune, who is Salish.
The biggest driver of rapprochement here is a shared history of subjugation and displacement—for the Tibetans, at the hands of the Chinese (Mr. Sang-ngag spent nine years in a Chinese labor camp) and for the tribes, by the American government.
Below: "Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, left, and Khenpo Namchak checking on the quality of the completed castings of Buddhas." (Mike Albans for The New York Times)