Big Hole National Battlefield-Newfie News

toy dog near Big Hole Battlefield sign
Hi, Y’all! I made it to Big Hole National Battlefield and, boy, is it neat here! Part of The Corps of Discovery adventured through here in 1806 and crossed the north fork of the Big Hole River a few hundred yards from the Battlefield. My ancestor, Seaman, didn’t make it on this leg of the journey, so I’m here to see what’s what!
toy dog looking at the mountains
Did you know that the Corps of Discovery is just a teeny part of what Big Hole NPS interprets? It’s true! The Battlefield Rangers tell the story of the Nez Perce Nation, a group of people who traveled near this neck of the woods for thousands of years, way before Captain Clark came through. They also tell about a battle that took place at their site in 1877. I wanted to know more about the battle and the Nez Perce, and the Rangers were chomping at the bit to help me learn.

The Nez Perce are awesome! They know how to hunt, fish, forage…they even know how to breed, train, and ride horses! They’re known for their hospitality and equestrian (that means horse) skills. And they were noted for these things when Seaman met them over 200 years ago, too! When The Corps of Discovery ventured through Nez Perce territory in Idaho, they were reliant on the Nez Perce for survival. Seaman might not have made it if it weren’t for the help of the Nez Perce!

In the 1800s, about seventy years after Seaman traveled through their Idaho territory, the Nez Perce were forced to leave their homeland because of treaties that stole their property. The people had to search for a new place to call home.

As they fled, they stopped to rest in the Big Hole Valley in August of 1877. But the U.S. Army followed and cornered almost 800 Nez Perce. Many people were killed in the battle that followed. That’s why the Rangers are here – to share the story of what happened at the battle.


toy dog near cannon
In the visitor center, you can see artifacts that were at the battle! My favorite artifact was the howitzer cannon. Why? Because in the heat of the battle, Nez Perce warriors captured the cannon from the infantry and dismantled it! Pretty cool, huh?
toy dog making a wish on a dandelion
In the visitor center, you can see artifacts that were at the battle! My favorite artifact was the howitzer cannon. Why? Because in the heat of the battle, Nez Perce warriors captured the cannon from the infantry and dismantled it! Pretty cool, huh?
toy dog trying on moccasins
When we arrived back at the visitor center, l got to listen to first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be Nez Perce. I even tried on some super cool beaded moccasins!
toy dog riding on a travois
And the best part was getting to take a ride on a travois, just like Nez Perce puppies used to do.
toy dog looking through binoculars
Even though this stop on my trip made me sad for the Nez Perce, I was glad to learn that my ancestor was looked after by such caring people. And, I got to see the same mountains that Capt. Clark hiked through. I think Seaman would’ve loved the Big Hole Valley!

Learn more about the Big Hole National Battlefield:
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Learn more about the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail:
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Last updated: November 13, 2018