Nez Perce National Historical Park
In the summer months the Nez Perce would come out of the river valleys and onto the surrounding prairies to harvest roots and berries and to hunt. Nestled against the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains, Weippe Prairie played host to several Nez Perce bands. In mid-September of 1805 the Lewis and Clark made contact with the Nez Perce for the first time.
Unprepared for the arduous trek over the Bitterroot Mountains, Captain Clark and a small group of hunters went ahead of the main party in search of food. When they entered the Weippe Prairie, they encountered three frightened Nez Perce boys hiding in the grass. Clark gave them small presents and "sent them forward to the village." The Nez Perce people, nervous over then intentions of these strangers, agreed to accept them into their land. After Lewis and Clark reunited on September 22, 1805, they spoke with a head man known as Twisted Hair trading gifts, passing the pipe and acquiring information about the country.
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.