• 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

Lewis and Clark Journal Entries - Weippe Prairie

The original spelling in the journals has been preserved. The text comes from The Gary E. Moulton's The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, July 28 to November 1, 1805. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Page 219.

[Clark] September 20, 1805

I Set out early and proceeded on through a Country as ruged as usial passed over a low mountain into the forks of a large Creek which I kept down 2 miles and assended a Steep mountain leaveing the Creek to our left hand passed the head of Several dreans on a divideing ridge, and at 12 miles decended the mountain to a leavel pine Countrey proceeded on through a butifull Countrey for three miles to a Small Plain in which I found maney Indian lodges, at the distance of 1 miles from the lodges I met 3 [Indian] boys, when they Saw me ran and hid themselves [in the grass I dismounted gave my gun & horse to one of the men,] searched [in the grass and] found [2 of the boys] gave them Small pieces of ribin & Sent them forward to the village [Soon after] a man Came out to meet me with great Caution & Conducted [me] to us to a large Spacious Lodge which he told me (by Signs) was the Lodge of his great Chief who had Set out 3 days previous with all the Warriers of the nation to war on a South West derection & would return in 15 or 18 days. the fiew men that were left in the Village aged, great numbers of women geathered around me with much apparent Signs of fear, and apr. pleased they [those people] gave us a Small piece of Buffalow meat, Some dried Salmon beries & roots in different States, Some round and much like an onion which they call [Pas she co] quamash the Bread or Cake is called Pas-she-co Sweet, of this they make bread & Supe they also gave us the bread made of this root all of which we eate hartily, I gave them a fiew Small articles as preasents, and proceeded on with a Chief to his Village 2 miles in the Same Plain, where we were treated kindly in their way and continued with them all night. Those two Villages consist of about 30 double lodges, but fiew men a number of women & children; They call themselves Cho pun-nish or Pierced Noses; their dialect appears very different from the [flat heads] Tushapaws [I have seen] Their dress Similar, with more beads white & blue principally, brass & Copper in different forms, Shells and ware their hare in the Same way. they are large Portley men Small women & handsom feuted Emence quantity of the quawmasn or Pas-shi-co root gathered & in piles about the plains, those roots grow much like an onion in marshey places the seed are in triangular Shell on the Stalk. they sweat them in the following manner i.e. dig a large hole 3 feet deep Cover the bottom with Split wood on the top of which they lay Small Stones of about 3 or 4 Inches thick, a Second layer of Splited wood & Set the while on the fire which heats the Stones, after the fire is extinguished they lay grass & mud mixed on the Stones, on that dry grass which Supports the Pash-Shi-co root a thin Coat of the Same grass is laid on the top, a Small fire when necessary in the Center of the kile.

I find myself very unwell all the evening from eating the fish & roots too freely. Sent out hunters they killed nothing Saw some Signs of deer.

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.