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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Nez Perce

"m_lac "_te tit_qan nim_pu hiw_ke waq_pa"
(A long time ago, the Nimipu people were not many in number)

"Indian people are still here. We are not going away.
It is time that the newcomers to this country started paying proper respect to the elder status of the first nations."

Otis Halfmoon, Nez Perce

"The earth is our mother. She should not be disturbed by hoe or plough. We want only to subsist on what she freely gives us."

"Every animal knows more than you do. White men have too many chiefs. Learn how to talk, then learn how to teach."

Chief Joseph


Bridal Veil Fall
Coyote and the Monster of Kamiah
How Half Dome Was Formed
Leaping Frog Rocks
Yellow Jacket and Ant

Other Nez Perce Home Pages

Appaloosa horse
Ceremonial Dances.
Changing Seasons
Nez Perce territory
Nez Perce Foods
Nez Perce National Historical Park and Museum.
Nez Perce Reservation
Nez Perce Trail
Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee (NPTEC)

For more information about the Nez Perce, please contact:

Leigh Pond, member of the Nez Perce Tribe.

The Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho
P.O. Box 365
Lapwai, ID 83540
(208) 843-2253

Nez Perce National Historical Park
P.O. Box 93
Spalding, ID 83551
(208) 843-2261

There was an article in The New York Times, July 22, 1998, entitled

"Expelled in 1877, Indian Tribe Now Wanted as Resource"
by Timothy Egan, from Joseph, Oregon

Germans appreciate the sacredness of Wallowa Lake and the small Nez Perce (Sahaptin) cemetery there and think it could become a money-making tourist attraction. There is a Chief Joseph Days rodeo that some Nez Perce began attending about ten years ago, setting up a powwow on the grounds. Now the powwow gets more attention than the rodeo.

"They're opening the door for the trail home -- I never thought I'd see the day," said Earl (Taz) Conner, one of about 4,000 Nez Perce in North America. Conner is a direct descendant of Old Chief Joseph, for whom this town is named and whose burial site is a prime tourist attraction here in the Wallowa Valley, in northeastern Oregon. "It is really ironic, asking us Indians to return after booting us out of there in 1877."

After broken treaties, constant wars, humilating surrender after a 1600 mile march, etc., in 1877 the remaining Nez Perce were scattered from Canada to Oklahoma but never allowed to return to the Wallowa Valley. The son of Chief Joseph, Young Joseph, was the leader of the tribe at the time of surrender. He died in 1904 of a broken heart and was buried in eastern Washington. Conner's great-grandfather Ollokot fought in the war, and he says he noticed an attitude change a couple of years ago when the Wallowa economy crashed.

"I was working for the Forest Service, the only Indian walking around there, and I was approached by this economic development guy from the city of Wallowa," Conner recalled. "He said he thought the Indians could save this county. I had to laugh at that."

Connor's, a Navy Vet, who knows the Nez Perce are more appreciated overseas than in Oregon. "I was in Spain once, and this guy said to me, 'You're Indian, right? What are you, Sioux?' I told him I was Nez Perce, and his face lit up. He said, 'Nez Perce! Chief Joseph." Connor says, "We're pretty close to being home."

$250,000 has already been raised to build a Nez Perce cultural and interpretive center on 160 acres on a river bluff just outside Wallowa, and the locals are looking for more money.

Nez Perce Soy Redthunder, a descendant of Joseph who lives on the Colville Indian Reservation where Young Joseph is buried, said, "The whites may look at it as a economic plus, but we look at it as homecoming." Because anti-Indian sentiment lingers in the valley, Redthunder says "I don't think we want to rush in there and take over the county, but I see a serious effort to return the Nez Perce people to the Wallowa Valley."

"We're just bunch of white folks -- we didn't have a clue at first," said Terry Crenshaw, one of the leaders behind the effort to build a cultural and interpretive center.

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(That's all / I'm done)

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.