|Beginning in the 1920s, with the formation of a tribal council, the Nez Perce Tribe created the foundations for a tribal government. From the 1930s through the 1950s there was a continual push and pull between self-government and the termination of treaty rights. Despite the swings in federal policy, a constitution was written in 1948 and since 1975, the Nez Perce Tribe has asserted itself as a sovereign body. It took over healthcare, land management, education, law enforcement, and natural resource management functions from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Together with a stronger tribal government, traditional cultural practices have been reinvigorated. There are active language programs and traditional Nimiipuu art forms are being revived to keep the material culture of the past alive.
The objects in the collection of Nez Perce National Historical Park are a tangible link that connects the past with the present and future. The park provides visitors with a portal to experience a people who have been part of this landscape since time immemorial. For the Nimiipuu, these objects embody a beauty and power essential to maintaining their beliefs and identity. The objects transcend space and time. They allow all Nimiipuu, regardless of where they live, to reconnect with their culture and carry it forward to the twenty-first century.