*Includes pictures of important people and places.
*Explains the origins, history, religion, and social structure of the tribe
*Discusses the tribe's involvement in the Lewis & Clark expedition.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
From the “Trail of Tears” to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors’ Native American Tribes series, readers can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America’s most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Many Native American tribes went out of their way to steer clear of white settlers during the 19th century, but the Nez Percé people might have remained confined to historical obscurity if not for their willingness to establish ties with European adventurers, explorers, clergy, and settlers. By doing so, most notably assisting the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1805, the Nez Percé succeeded in not only bringing to light their ancient heritage but staking their claim to their place in modernity. From their role in helping Lewis and Clark blaze a trail to the Northwest Pacific coast in the early 19th century to their modern-day roles in the fields of academics, politics, the arts and sciences, the Nez Percé people stand among America's most influential.
Nez Percé literally means “pierced nose” in French, but it is unclear whether the tribe ever used nose piercing as a form of ornament. Today, the tribe is best known for being led by Chief Joseph in the late 19th century. When he died in 1904, most Americans who knew his people’s story considered Chief Joseph, whose Nez Percé name is Himahtooyahlatkekt (“Thunder Rolling Down from the Mountains”), a military genius and an “Indian Napoleon.” This assessment of the Native American leader was based on a 1,500-mile odyssey during which he and his people left their reservation in the hopes of escaping to Canada, where the Nez Percé intended to join Sitting Bull and his Hunkpapa Sioux band. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Chief Joseph (who was far more of a diplomat than military tactician) was misunderstood and misrepresented by Americans, because his people were misunderstood as well.
By the middle of the 19th century, the Nez Percé was one of the strongest Native American groups in the Pacific Northwest, and they had maintained friendly relations with American settlers for several decades. Lewis and Clark had considered them so friendly and reliable that they left their horses with the Nez Percé as they loaded onto canoes and journeyed to the Pacific Coast. But the Nez Percé’s attitudes would soon change as the United States government began to coerce them to cede their traditional homeland to newly arriving white settlers, and the Nez Percé began suffering a fate very similar to that of other Native American tribes to the east. Like the Sioux, the Cherokee, the Seminole, and other tribes, the Nez Percé became notorious among contemporary Americans for resisting their displacement and fighting the U.S. Army in the 1870s.
Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Nez Percé comprehensively covers the history, culture, and legacy of the Pacific Northwest’s most famous tribe. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about the Nez Percé like you never have before, in no time at all.