• Nez Perce National Historical Park. Front Page banner photograph is of Heart of the Monster, an ancient place where the Nez Perce creation story originates. The secondary page photograph is of Nez Perce beadwork.

    Nez Perce

    National Historical Park ID,MT,OR,WA

Kate and Sue McBeth

Kate McBeth in her later years

Kate McBeth

Nez Perce National Historical Park Historic Image Collection NEPE-HI-0028

Henry and Eliza Spalding brought the Presbyterian Church to Nez Perce country and in the following years built a small but devout congregation near Lapwai. After leaving Nez Perce country in the aftermath of the murder of the Whitman's at their mission, Henry Spalding returned in 1871 as a result of President Ulysses S. Grant's peace policy, allowing various Christian denominations to nominate Indian agents to administer tribal affairs. Spalding wanted to strengthen the Presbyterian Church on the reservation and end the growing influence of other Protestant denominations.
 
Sue McBeth as a young women

Sue McBeth

Nez Perce National Historical Park Historic Image Collection NEPE-HI-232

Sue arrived in Lapwai in 1873 as a teacher and her sister followed in 1879. Sue and Kate McBeth built on Spalding's work and continued to strengthen the Presbyterian Church, vigorously enforcing church doctrine and stamping out traditional practices. Sue died in 1893 and Kate continued working until her death in 1915. The house they lived and worked out of is still standing in Kamiah but currently is not open to the public.

Did You Know?

The great Nez Perce rodeo rider Jackson Sundown on his horse, circa 1920. NPS photo NEPE-HI-1922

Horses came into Nez Perce country about the 1730s and the Nez Perce became well known for their large herds of fine horses. The Nez Perce practiced selective breeding to obtain the traits of intelligence, endurance, and speed.