Nez Percé

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Nez Percé

(nĕz pûrs, nā pĕrsā`) [Fr.,=pierced nose], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). Also called the Sahaptin, or Shahaptin, they were given the name "Nez Percé" by the French because some of them wore nose pendants; however, this custom does not seem to have been widespread among them. They were typical of the Plateau area, fishing for salmon and gathering camas, cowish, and other roots. After the introduction of the horse (c.1700) they became noted horse breeders, particularly of the AppaloosaAppaloosa horse
, breed of light horse developed in the United States by the Nez Percé of Idaho from a horse that originated in Asia and was popular in Europe during the Middle Ages. Lewis and Clark found the breed in the possession of the Nez Percé in 1805.
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, and they adopted many Plains area traits, including buffalo hunts.

In 1805, when visited by Lewis and Clark, they were occupying a large region in W Idaho, NE Oregon, and SE Washington. In the 1830s the Nez Percé, then numbering some 6,000, attracted national attention by sending emissaries to St. Louis to ask for books and teachers. Their request attracted to the Pacific Northwest missionaries, who played an important role in opening the region to settlement. The Nez Percé ceded (1855) a large part of their territory to the United States. The gold rushes in the 1860s and 1870s, however, brought large numbers of miners and settlers onto their lands, and a treaty of cession was fraudulently extracted (1863) from part of the tribe, confining the Nez Percé to a reservation in NW Idaho. A band of the tribe living in Oregon refused to relocate, leading to the uprising under Chief JosephJoseph
(Chief Joseph), c.1840–1904, chief of a group of Nez Percé. On his father's death in 1871, Joseph became leader of one of the groups that refused to leave the land ceded to the United States by the fraudulently obtained treaty of 1863.
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 in 1877. Following their defeat, many of the survivors ended up at the Colville Reservation in Washington, where some of their descendants still live. However, many more Nez Percé live on their reservation in Idaho, earning their living as farmers. In 1990 there were some 4,000 Nez Percé in the United States.


See H. J. Spinder, The Nez Percé Indians (1908, repr. 1974); T. Mathieson, The Nez Percé War (1964); M. D. Beal, I Will Fight No More Forever (1965); A. M. Josephy, Jr., The Nez Percé Indians and the Opening of the Northwest (1965, abr. ed. 1971); M. H. Brown, The Flight of the Nez Percé (1966, repr. 1972); D. Walker, Conflict and Schism in Nez Percé Acculturation (1968); D. S. Lavender, Let Me Be Free: The Nez Percé Tragedy (1992).

References in periodicals archive ?
SEEKING OUT WHAT PERMANENTLY REMAINS of the Nez Perce in the region is trickier.
Joseph was the leader of a band of Nez Perce Indians that lived for millennia in the valleys and canyons of the Wallowa country in what is now northeast Oregon.
The connection between Chief Joseph and Brother to Dragons is reemphasized with a discussion of the auspicious first encounter between the Nez Perce and representatives of the United States in the "Note" Warren inserts between the poem's epigraphs and the body of the poem itself: "The Nez Perce entered history as the friendly hosts to the explorers Lewis and Clark, and took care of their superfluous possessions when the expedition made the last push to the Pacific" (CJ, 491).
The other group of archives, consisting of what Tonkovich describes as "an unruly assemblage of oral, performative, and documentary sources" (5), opens to view the complex and sometimes contradictory experiences of women like Fletcher and Gay, who were sent out west to administer allotment, and the resistance activities of Nez Perce tribal members, who also collected archives of their own in scrapbooks.
Chief Joseph was best known for leading the Nez Perce tribe out of Oregon on a 1,700-mile journey to freedom in Canada to escape living on a reservation.
5) The Nez Perce use the Treaty of 1855 as an example of an adaptive strategy in asserting both land and use rights, which are critical for Nimiipuu survival and well-being in a changing sociopolitical system.
Now the Nez Perce are struggling to keep their language alive.
Brotnov, 33, a 2010 Clark University graduate, traveled to Washington and Idaho to research and photograph the Nez Perce tribe during its annual Lookingglass Days Powwow.
Chaske is part Lakota Sioux and part Nez Perce, so he really identifies with the Native American culture.
AG-0295-S-09-0016, issued by the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, for the Crooked River Road surfacing project in the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho.
Aurora Crossing" is a novel set in the nineteenth century, following a tribe of the Nez Perce, particularly one John Seton.