Can be selected only if the following are true:
- At least one of:
- Primary culture is Athabascan
- Primary culture is Chinook
- Primary culture is Haida
- Primary culture is Salish
- +10% Morale of armies
- +50% Chance of new heir
- +0.5 Infantry shock
- −20% Change rival cost
- +1 Tolerance of the true faith
- +20% Improve relations
- −2 National unrest
- +1 Possible advisor
- +10% Female advisor chance
- −1% Prestige decay
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- +1 Land leader maneuver
- +1 Max promoted culture
- −25% Promote culture cost
- −1% Yearly army tradition decay
While still a very difficult prospect, playing as OPMs like Salish is not an impossible task. Careful and deliberate planning will allow the player to prepare for the arrival of colonial powers on Salish shores and present European and Asian nations with a not-insignificant North American opponent.
Tribal nations generate extra monarch points through migration. Combining this with missions related to migration allows a tribal nation to move towards completing their native ideas at a relatively brisk pace. To that end, unlocking the Travois diplomatic idea for its migration cooldown bonus is one way to gain an early advantage. Another option is to grab the Tribal Adoptions military idea for the land force limit increase, allowing Salish to harass either Chinook or Haida for a quick influx of ducats.
Salish's relative isolation means one neighbour will likely end up being an ally while the other is a rival. Regardless of which nation becomes an ally, an easy way to secure that alliance and others is to found a federation at the first opportunity. Invite as many nations as possible, though long distances between Salish and other potential federation members such as Shoshone, Blackfoot, Apache and Pima may make this difficult. With a decently sized federation, Salish can claim a dominant position in most early skirmishes.
Avoid the temptation to grab a colonist through native ideas too early. Colonizing removes the migration ability -- a key source of monarch points, as mentioned earlier. When the time to colonize finally arrives (typically once the final native ideas for each category are in sight), look for a province as close to Miwak (2021), the home of the California trade node, as possible. If Miwak itself is available, so much the better. Colonizing Miwak gives Salish a secure source of trade income and leaves the nation in a prime position to initiate contact with colonial powers to reform the tribal government. If Salish is far enough ahead of its neighbours in the native ideas race, consider repeated migrations until a favourable trade good like fur is generated before colonizing a second province.
Finally, a large bank of monarch points can be invaluable to a tribal nation once government reformation has taken place. Once the massive penalties to development and technology cost have been eliminated, the cost efficiency of investing monarch points spikes significantly. A similar attitude towards ducats applies here, since all tribal nation buildings are removed when migrating or reforming. Holding onto a sizable bank of ducats allows Salish to actually make use of their purchased upgrades.
If Miwak isn't already the new Salish capital, there's a strong argument to be made for securing it for its trade node. A well developed Miwak can fund Salish well through the mid-game and lay the groundwork for a respectable trade income.
Beyond Miwak, a focus on limited colonizing along the coast -- one province at a time, only far enough south to make contact with whichever colonial power arrives in Mexico -- sets Salish up to make as quick a transition away from tribal government as possible. To the north, Chinook (873) and Salish (874) are the only two coastal provinces north of Miwak with a starting development above 3 and make for attractive expansion targets. Chinook is also considered a key province in the California trade node as the province contains an estuary.
In advance of what will likely be hostile colonial powers arriving on your shores, the largest nearby tribal nations -- usually Pueblo, Navajo and Cherokee -- can provide some unified resistance against any untoward aggression. That said, relying solely on local allies is a recipe for disaster owing to the vast technology gulf. Making friends with, if not allying, one colonial power lowers the chances of being immediately steamrolled by warmongering nations taking advantage of Holy War, Imperalism and/or Colonialism casus belli.
Once Salish reforms away from tribal society, feel free to spend as many banked monarch points as necessary. Military technology is a good choice to keep armies from being instantly wiped away after first contact. Developing provinces is also a sound decision to create better infrastructure for the nation as a whole. Miwak, Chinook and Salish -- the three provinces with existing development -- could be even further raised to maximize their potential. Alternatively, raising development nation-wide prevents an all-eggs-in-one-basket situation.
Spending ducats can be done in a number of ways. Churches and forts will be high priorities, the former to provide a tax base and the latter to protect valuable provinces. With the Exploration ideas, a navy could be funded to explore and/or colonize the Pacific. It's unlikely there will be any territory left to colonize but exploration can lead to contact with Asian powers, which could in turn lead to new allies. If not for exploration, a navy could also be used as a trade fleet to monopolize the California trade node with the help of a few key marketplaces.
Colonial powers and their overlords will not be kind if they desire Salish territory, especially if said territory contains gold. Ceding a few provinces in the short term to guarantee long-term survival is fine since ceding a province typically means there is now an adjacent foreign power from which to reform the government, assuming reforms haven't already been done. Plus, assuming there are willing and able allies, the Reconquest casus belli will be there once the truce expires, allowing Salish to take back the ceded land -- and perhaps more.
In order to make these wars feasible, decisions exist around military investment. Taking as many levels of military technology as possible will keep Salish in the fight at the expense of investing in any military ideas. Conversely, trying to max out idea groups like Aristocratic -- a good idea group because it leads to reduced technology costs -- will leave Salish without the core military strength to pose any threat. Striking a balance in military investment and knowing when (and where) to focus resources is vital.
On the topic of investment in ideas, the Influence idea group is a strong candidate for a second diplomatic idea (or first if Exploration wasn't taken), not in the least because of its ability to unlock the oligarchic republic decision. Aside from reforming the government (again), the bonuses to diplomatic annexation, diplomatic reputation, aggressive expansion and unjustified demands make a rapid Salish expansion far easier.
In the midst of all this, the last few unclaimed provinces are likely being contested either by colonial powers or former tribal nations. If the Exploration idea group was taken, there should be a colonist at your disposal to replace the colonist granted from native ideas. (Native ideas are removed along with their benefits once a tribal government reforms.) A rapid expansion north can impede or deny coastline access to would-be colonists. Colonizing to the east can put pressure on the passage between the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin wastelands -- a key gateway in the push west by colonists from the east coast. If this eastern route is taken, a fort should be considered if funding allows.