“Our traditional relationship with the earth was more than just reverence for the land. It was knowing that every living thing had been placed here by the Creator and that we were part of a sacred relationship…entrusted with the care and protection of our Mother Earth, we could not stand apart from our environment.” –Elsie Maynard (Nez Perce)
The people associated with this park and the events that took place on the Big Hole Battlefield are inextricably tied to the natural resources in the area; it is impossible to separate them. If the area did not contain natural resources—fish, elk, camas, lodgepole pine, grasses, water, minerals, and fertile soil—the Nez Perce (nimí·pu·) would not have come to the area. Intimate familiarity with and use of natural resources led to the development of Nez Perce culture. An understanding of the cultural ties to the natural resources and an understanding of the landscape during the battle is critical to the management and interpretation of this park.