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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Lacking hard evidence to support the assumption, this source continues, "The high quality and quantity of the Nez Perce bags has led to the assumption that the Nez Perce were the first tribe to make these bags and the production of these bags gradually spread from them to other Plateau tribes."
Tribal officials, who announced the purchases in early February and late March, respectively, did not disclose the acquisition costs of the golf course and the hot springs, both of which are tourist-intensive operations, and which sit on lands the Nez Perce occupied or hunted on for hundreds of years.
SEEKING OUT WHAT PERMANENTLY REMAINS of the Nez Perce in the region is trickier.
"Nez Perce culture cannot help being alien to the typical modern reader, but we also cannot help sympathizing with their resistance to the perennial bad faith of their American conquerors, manifest destiny or no....
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 Nez Perce, or Nimiipuu, were one of three Indian tribes that the 1804-06 Lewis and Clark expedition spent substantial time with, lingering at the border between today's Washington, Oregon, and Idaho both outgoing and incoming.
Ten of those two .44 rimfire rifles were identified with the Nez Perce battle.
In presenting a multi-vocal collection of counter-narratives to the official version of the allotment of Nez Perce lands during the period 1889-1892, Nicole Tonkovich usefully recovers both the gendered nature of that story and the long-ignored archive of Nez Perce recollections of their experiences to provide a unique inside perspective on the process.
Chief Joseph has never been much of a fashion icon, but that didn't stop one Native American artifact collector from ( shelling out $877,500 for a war shirt worn by the Nez Perce tribe leader.
This article explores how salmon and the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people who depend upon them survive given invasion and treaty making, population decline and growth, destruction of salmon habitat and damming of streams, and impending climate change.
Like many Native American tribes, the early Nez Perce had a colorful way of speaking.