Nez Perce



Language: Nez Perce
Family: Shahaptin
Stock: Plateau Penutian
Phylum: Penutian
Macro-Culture: Northwestern Plateau
Speakers 697 1990 Census
     The Nez Perce were semi-sedentary hunter/gatherer tribes.  They acquired horses early.  They lived in northeastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and southeastern Washington.  They were devastated from disease and in war with the Whites when they attempted a long flight to Canada under Chief Joseph.  The Washington Nez Perce are now enumerated with the Colville.
Aboriginal Locations (Subdivisions)
ID (17), OR (4), WA (5)
Oregon Present Locations
ID     Nez Perce Reservation, Lapwai
WA  Colville Reservation, Nespelem
Year History
1700 Acquired horses
1760 Smallpox epidemic
1781 Smallpox epidemic
1805 Lewis and Clark passed through territory, aided by Nez Perce
1809 David Thompson established Kullyspell House trading post on Lake Pend d'Orielle
1810 David Thompson established Spokane House
1811 David Thompson explored the length of the Columbia River
1836 Presbyterian mission established by Rev. Henry Spaulding near the mouth of Lapwai Creek
1841 Influx of Oregon Trail settlers began, conflicts followed
1851 Cayuse partially merged with Nez Perce
1855 Ceded lands by treaty
1863 Ceded remaining lands by treaty except for one reservation
1877 Nez Perce War as  a result of Wallowa Valley occupants to failure to agree to cessions, Chief Joseph and followers overtaken in flight to Canada, made it to within 40 miles of the border, Joseph and 450 sent to Oklahoma
1885 Oklahoma Nez Perce suffered heavily from disease, survivors returned to Colville Reservation in WA
Year U.S. Population ID OR WA Source
1700 8,000 5,200 1,200 1,600 NAHDB calculation
1800 6,000 3,900 900 1,200 NAHDB calculation
1805 6,000 Lewis and Clark
1849 3,000 Wilkes estimate
1853 1,700 Gibbs estimate
1885 1,437 Returned to Colville Res.
1900 1,600 1,500 0 0 NAHDB calculation (OR, ID absorbed by others)
1905 1,617 Swanton
1910 1,219 Census
1923 1,415 US Indian Office
1937 1,426 US Indian Office
1973 1,505 BIA @ Lapwai
1981 2,020 BIA
1989 2,455 BIA estimate
2000 3,500 3,500 0 0 NAHDB calculation
2003 3,700 Tribe
Other speakers of the same language:
Nez Perce Sites:
BPA and Nez Perce Dedicate Hatchery
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Chief
Chief Joseph - Nez Perce
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
Chief Joseph Surrender Speech
Constitution and By-Laws of the Nez Perce Tribe
Ethnographic Overview of the Nez Perce Great site
Facts About the Nez Perce Tribe
Flight of the Nez Perce - Timeline
Hells Canyon:  Nez Perce
Idaho Natives:  Nez Perce
Lewis and Clark: Nez Perce Indians
My Small Role as a Nez Perce ...
Nez Perce
Nez Perce
Nez Perce
Nez Perce
Nez Perce
Nez Perce and the Lewis and Clark ...
Nez Perce Authors
Nez Perce Campaign - 1877
Nez Perce Doll
Nez Perce Indian History
Nez Perce Indians
Nez Perce Indians
Nez Perce Language
Nez Perce Language
Nez Perce Linguistic Lineage
Nez Perce Literature
Nez Perce Literature
Nez Perce National Historic Trail
Nez Perce Nation Flag
Nez Perce NHP
Nez Perce People
Nez Perce People
Nez Perce Site Dedicated
Nez Perce Trail in Oregon
Nez Perce Tribe
Nez Perce Tribe
Nez Perce Tribe
Nez Perce Tribe
Nez Perce Vocabulary
Northeastern Oregon Natives ...
Oberlin College to Return Lost Item ...
Oregon Trail

Last updated 02/06/05  Copyright 2005 by Four Directions Press