This is a replica of pictographs found
above the Clearwater River between Kamiah and Orofino.
It appears to be a hunting scene.

These items were made by the Nez Perce,
a child's doll, moccasins, corn husk saddle bags are some of what we are showing here.


Nez Perce Indians

The Nez Perce Indians, who call themselves Ni Mii Puu (pronounced Nee Mee Poo) meaning The People, have been on this land for thousands of years. They roamed over hundreds of square miles hunting, gathering berries, fishing, and digging for roots while living here. The population was in the tens of thousands until Euro-American diseases killed thousands in epidemics.

The horse was acquired in the mid 1700s and the Nez Perce became excellent breeders of the well-known Appaloosa Horse. The Lewis and Clark Expedition left their horses with Chief Twisted-Hair in the fall of 1805 while they continued to the Pacific Coast by canoe.When the expedition returned in the spring of 1806, the Nez Perce helped geld stallions. The Corps found the Indian method superior to theirs. The process was quicker and less stressful for the horse. The survival rate was much better.

Missionaries like Henry H. Spalding and Marcus Whitman brought Christianity into this region in the 1830's. Spalding started a mission on present day Lapwai Creek at Spalding, Idaho. Whitman established a mission in Walla Walla Valley in Washington State.

The Treaty of 1855 gave the Nez Perce land for a reservation. The Nez Perce Indians were the only tribe in the Northwest to ally with the Americans even before the 1855 Treaty. Then gold was discovered in 1860 by E. D. Pierce, bringing gold-hungry miners onto the reservation illegally. Rather than try to keep non-Indians off the reservation a new treaty was proposed. The 1863 Treaty took away about 90% of the reservation land and created a split in the tribe between Treaty and Non-Treaty Indians.

Chief Joseph (the elder), Chief Looking Glass (the elder), Chief Big Thunder, and Chief White Bird were some of the Chiefs who would not sign the treaty. The invading Euro-Americans were still not satisfied so a third agreement was made which brought in Alice Fletcher in the early 1890s. Miss Fletcher allotted land to each tribal member according to age, status in the tribe and gender. The land not allotted to an Indian on the reservation was then opened for non-Indians to homestead.

This Nez Perce woman posed for her portrait
dressed in finest clothes and carrying a beautiful bag.

Legend tells us that Jane Silcot led E. D. Pierce to the spot
his group found gold, which became Pierce City in 1860.