Nez Perce National Historical Park.
Unlike some Native American groups, the Nimiipuu (as the Nez Perce are known in their own language) have no migration myths or stories. In contrast, the oral history of the Nimiipuu details their presence in this country since time immemorial.
According to the Nimiipuu creation story, It'se-ye-ye (coyote) killed a large monster along the Clearwater River near present day Kamiah, Idaho. Parts of the monster were scattered across the northwest where they each became different regional tribes. It'se-ye-ye left the heart of the monster near Kamiah and sprinkled blood from the heart around the surrounding countryside, thus creating the Nez Perce.The story of coyote and monster provides some insight into the ancient past of the Nimiipuu and their ancestors.
Did You Know?
For centuries the Nez Perce used Tolo Lake or Tepalewam as a gathering place. In June, 1877 the Wallowa Nez Perce paused here before their final move to the Reservation. Brooding over past injustices, warriors raided homes on the Salmon River, precipitating events that would trigger the 1877 War.