The Nez Perce

The Nez Perce Indians lived in eastern Oregon, north-western Idaho and south-western Washington. In the 1840s settlers started to farm and live on the land of the indians. The U.S. government made treaties with the indians promising them certain land, while buying land for the settlers. Gold miners and other settlers wanted the land of the Wallowa Valley. The U.S. government threatened the Nez Perce to give it by sending soldiers. To avoid war they wanted to move to Canada. When they reached Bearpaw (a town near the border of the US and Canada), they hoped to reach Canada the next day. But the soldiers found them in their camp. After 5 days fighting for freedom, Chief Joseph, the tribes chief, surrendered. The soldiers promised the indians they could return to their home land but they were taken to a reservation in Oklahoma far away from Wallowa Valley. Some indians were allowed to live in reservations in Idaho and Washington where they lived before but Chief Joseph and his people never saw their Wallowa Valley again. I think it was pretty mean of the americans to brak their promise.

Hayes, Jeri. History Alive! CA, Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, 2003.