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Nez Percé - A powerful Indian tribe that roamed the territory between the Blue Mountains in Oregon and the Bitter Root Mountains in Idaho.  The name Nez Percé (Pierced Nose), was given them by the French, although they are said never to have practiced the custom of piercing their noses.  One of their own names for themselves meant "The People."

When Lewis and Clark met them in 1805 they had been horse Indians for more than a century, breeding their famous war ponies which the white man called the Appaloosa.  The formerly fished for salmon in the tributaries of the Columbia River, but after obtaining horses they became buffalo hunters and lived in tepees during the hunting season.  At other times they lived in underground lodges, or dugouts.  They made fine baskets in which they could boil water by dropping hot stones in them.

They were friendly to the whites with one exception.  In 1877 their famous chief,  Joseph, headed a revolt which proved disastrous to the tribe.  From the tribe Nez Perce County and a village, Nezperce, both in Idaho, derive their name.


Related Information within this Site
[ Appaloosa ][ Cayuse ][ Joseph ][ Lewis ][ Palouse ]