Overview Legend Times Daily Life Transport and Trade Contact and Change All Image Gallery
Bag - BIHO 27
Basket - NEPE 2333 Projectile Points - NEPE 2405 - 2471
Nimiipuu oral history records their presence in Nez Perce country since time immemorial. Archeological evidence indicates that peoples have occupied the Plateau culture area of the Northwest for at least the last 11,000 years.
According to legend, the world before humans was inhabited by animals that possessed human traits. The primary animal was It’se-ye-ye [Coyote], who at times had superhuman powers. The Nimiipuu creation story reveals that when a monster began to consume the animals, Coyote tricked the monster into swallowing him. While in the monster’s stomach, he killed the monster and set the animals free. Coyote carved the monster into pieces, and scattered the parts throughout the land, where they became the various tribes. It’se-ye-ye left the heart of the monster near Kamiah, Idaho and sprinkled blood around the surrounding countryside, and created the Nimiipuu, the Nez Perce people. These stories provided instruction in Nimiipuu culture, and often conveyed moral teachings and practical information.

The Nimiipuu have been part of this land for countless generations. Their traditional homeland occupied nearly 13 million acres in what is today Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The earliest peoples lived in small groups and family units. They were mostly reliant on big game hunting as a primary means of subsistence. Starting around 6,000 years ago, many aspects of the historic Nez Perce way of life began to appear in the region. This included the use of much broader base of locally abundant plant, fish, and game resources.

Bag - NEPE 1029 Basket - NEPE 143 Thumb Scraper - NEPE 3000 Necklace - NEPE 3062 Mortar - NEPE 55 Pipe - NEPE 90 Stone Tools - NEPE 6386, 6387, 6390 Slide Show