Bearing Witness

On August 9, 1877 gun shots shattered a chilly dawn on a sleeping camp of Nez Perce. By the time the smoke cleared on August 10, almost 90 Nez Perce were dead along with 31 soldiers and volunteers. Big Hole National Battlefield was created to honor all who were there.

Several tepee poles in a meadow on a sunny day.

Big Hole National Battlefield History

On the morning of August 9, 1877, U.S. troops surprised the Nez Perce killing 60 to 90 Nez Perce men, women, and children.

Painting depicting soldiers and Nez Perce warriors during battle.

The Nez Perce Flight of 1877

In 1877, the non-treaty Nez Perce were forced on a 126-day journey that spanned over 1,170 miles and through four different states.

Students get a tour of the Bear Paw Battlefield

The Birds and the Beads

NEW! Check out our online exhibit that highlights birds in Nez Perce culture in honor of the Year of the Bird.

Male park ranger and four visitors on a forested trail.

Ranger Programs

Attend a guided tour of the battlefield, a ranger talk at the visitor center, or a special cultural demonstrator's program.

Appaloosa horse with traditional Nez Perce ceremonial garb.

Big Hole Commemoration - Aug. 11, 2018

Each year the Nez Perce host a commemoration to remember those who lost their lives at Big Hole and pay tribute to those who survived.

Nez Perce man in full regalia riding an apaloosa horse.

Bear Paw Commemoration - October 6, 2018

Each year the Nez Perce host a commemoration to remember those who lost their lives at Bear Paw and pay tribute to those who survived.

Last updated: May 26, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 237
Wisdom, MT 59761

Phone:

(406) 689-3155

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