The Spalding Presbyterian Church
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Henry Spalding brought the Presbyterian Church to Nez Perce country and in the preceding years built a small but devout congregation near Lapwai.
After leaving Nez Perce country in the aftermath of the killings of the Whitmans at their mission, 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 and the Catholic Church. 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.
The first services were held in the building in 1876. In 1905, the building was given a brick facing which is what you see now. The building is used and maintained by an active congregation and is not open to the public.
Did You Know?
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.