• 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

Long Camp Journal Entries

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, March 23 to June 9, 1806. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991. Pages 255-312.

[Lewis] Wednesday May 14 1806

"we followed our horses and again collected them, after which we removed our baggage to a position which we had previously selected for our permanent camp about half a mile below. this was a very eligible spot for defence it had been an ancient habitation of the indians; was sunk about 4 feet in the ground and raised arround it's outer edge about three ½ feet with a good wall of earth. the whole was a circle of about 30 feet in diameter. arround this we formed our tents of stick and grass facing outwards and deposited out baggage within the sunken space under a shelter which we constructed for the purpose."

[Clark] Wednesday May 14 1806

"the hills to the E. & N. of us are high broken & but partially timbered; the soil rich and affords fine grass. in Short as we are Compelled to reside a while in this neighbourhood I feel perfectly satisfied with our position. immediately after we had Crossed the river the Chief Called the broken Arm or Tin nach-e-moo tolt another principal Chief Hoh-hast-ill-pitip arived on the opposite Side and began to Sing. we Sent the Canoe over and those Chiefs, the Son of the broken arm and the Sone of a Great Chief who was killed last year by the Big bellies of Sas kas she win river. those two young men were the two whome gave Capt Lewis and my self each a horse with great serimony in behalf of the nation a fiew days ago, and the latter a most elegant Gray horse which he had brought for that purpose. Capt. Lewis gave him in return a Handkerchief two hundred balls and four pouds of powder with which he appeared perfictly Satisfyed, and appeared much pleased."

[Lewis] Sunday May 18th 1806

"early this morning the natives erected a lodge on the opposite side of the river near a fishing stand a little above us. no doubt to be in readiness for the salmon, the arrival of which they are so ardently wishing as well as ourselves. this stand is a small stage are warf constructed of sticks and projecting about 10 feet into the river and about 3 feet above the surface of the water on the extremity of this the fisherman stands with his scooping net, which differ but little in their form from those commonly used in our country . . . the fisherman exercised himself some hours today but I believe without success."

[Clark] Wednesday May 28th 1806

"I have no doubt that this tract of Country if Cultivated would produce in great abundance every article necessary to the comfort and Subsistence of civilized man. to it's present inhabitents nature Seems to have dealt a liberal hand, for she has distributed a great variety of esculent plants over the face of the Country which furnish them a plentiful Store of provisions; those are acquired but little toil; and when prepared after the method of the natives afford not only a nutricious but agreeable food. among other roots those Called by them the Quawmash and Cows are esteemed. the most agreeable and valuable as they are also abundant in those high plains."

[Lewis] Sunday June 8, 1806

"several foot rarces were run this evening between the indians and our men. the indians are very active; one them proved as fleet as <our best runner> Drewer and R. Fields our swiftest runners. when the racing was over the men divided themselves into two parties and played prison base* by way of exercise which we wish the men to take previously to entering the mountain; in short those who are not hunters have had so little to do that they are getting rather lazy and slouthfull. after dark we had the violin played and danced for the amusement of ourselves and the indians. one of the indians informed us that we could not pass the mountains until the full of the next moon or about the first of July, that of we attempted it sooner our horses would be at least three days travel without food on top of the mountain; this information is disagreeable inasmuch as it causes some doubt as to the time at which it will be most proper for us to set out. however as we have no time to loose we will wrisk the chanches and set out as early as the indians generally think it practicable or the middle of this month."


* A boy's game in which each side tries to make prisoner the members of the opposing side who run out of their base area.

Did You Know?

Salmon is an important part of the Nez Perce diet

Salmon is a sacred fish for the Nez Perce. It is sustained them for thousands of years and has shaped their culture and religion. Today the Nez Perce Tribe is playing a leading role in the restoration of wild Salmon runs in the Columbia River Plateau.