Kutenai group ca. 1900
Total population
1,536 (2016)
Regions with significant populations
United States (Idaho, Montana), Canada (British Columbia)
 British Columbia
 United States
(Idaho, Montana)
English, Kutenai (Kitunahan), ʾa·qanⱡiⱡⱡitnam (Ktunaxa Sign Language)[3]
Christianity, other

The Kutenai (i/), also known as the Ktunaxa (ɑː/ AH-hah;[4] Kutenai[ktunʌ́χɑ̝]), Ksanka (SAHN-kah), Kootenay (in Canada) and Kootenai (in the United States), are an indigenous people of Canada and the United States. Kutenai bands live in southeastern British Columbia, northern Idaho, and western Montana. The Kutenai language is a language isolate, unrelated to the languages of neighboring peoples.

Four bands form the Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia. The Ktunaxa Nation were historically closely associated with the Shuswap Indian Band through tribal association and intermarriange. Two federally recognized tribes represent Kutenai people in the U.S.: the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, a confederation also including Bitterroot Salish and Pend d'Oreilles bands.


Around 40 variants of the name Kutenai have been attested since 1820; two others are also in current use. Kootenay is the common spelling in British Columbia, including in the name of the Lower Kootenay First Nation. Kootenai is used in Montana and Idaho, including in the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. These two spellings have been used for various placenames on their respective sides of the Canadian-U.S. border.[5] Kutenai is the common form in the literature about the people, and has been adopted by Kutenai in both countries as an international spelling when discussing the people as a whole.[5][6] The name evidently derives from the Blackfoot word for the people, Kotonáwa, which itself may derive from the Kutenai term Ktunaxa.[5][6]

There are two words in the Kutenai language for the people and their language: Ktunaxa and Ksanka. Ktunaxa is the primary form for the British Columbia groups. Two etymologies have been suggested, tying the name to a verb for "to go out into the open", or to a verb for "to eat lean meat". Ksanka is the word used by the Montana people.[7]

Other Languages
български: Кутенаи
català: Kutenais
Deutsch: Ktunaxa
español: Kutenai (tribu)
hrvatski: Kutenai
polski: Kutenajowie
русский: Ктунаха
Seeltersk: Kutenai
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kutenai
Tagalog: Ktunaxa