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Chief Timothy Shirt - NEPE 35655
Hat - NEPE 34570 Ceremonial Shirt - NEPE 8759
In the early 1800s, as contacts with Euro-American fur brigades increased, the Nimiipuu observed the Christian rituals of fur trappers. Stories suggest that four Nimiipuu men went east to St. Louis to find bibles. These reports, with information from other tribes, piqued Nimiipuu curiosity.
In 1836, two couples, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, and Henry and Eliza Spalding traveled the Oregon Trail to establish missions among the Native Americans of the Columbia River Plateau. The Whitmans established their mission among the Cayuse at Waiilatpu (Place of the Rye Grass). The Spaldings settled among the Nimiipuu, first near Lapwai Creek, then in 1838, along the Clearwater River.

Some Nimiipuu were extremely interested in Spalding’s teachings and he built a small, but devoted following. For Spalding and his contemporaries, accepting Christianity was an important step in assimilating tribes into the mainstream. To do this, Spalding acquired a printing press from missionary contacts in the Hawaiian Islands. He then developed a written version of the Nez Perce language in order to publish bibles and other religious materials. Protestant and Catholic missions published Nez Perce bible tracts and hymnals until the early 1900s.

Hat - NEPE 8745 Jesus - Christ - NIM Matthewnim Taaiskt - NEPE 9762 Johnnim Taaiskt - NEPE 33894 Sign Language Card - NEPE 8535 Suyapu Timtki