Beginning in the 1830s and continuing for the remainder of the nineteenth century, Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries spent time among the Nez Perce. Christianity was accepted by some and rejected by others and many of the active churches on the Nez Perce reservation today have their roots in these missions. It was the beginning of many changes that confronted the Nez Perce and their culture.
The Reverand Henry Spalding and his wife Eliza were the first to arrive in the Clearwater River valley and would remain until 1846. Learn more about the impact of their missionary work by following the links below.
Asa and Sarah Smith arrived in Kamiah in 1839 and remained two short but eventful years. Learn about the impact of their missionary work by following the links below.
Father Joseph Cataldo arrived at Slickpoo Valley south of Lapwai, Idaho in the 1860s and established St. Joseph's Jesuit Catholic mission. Learn more about his work by following the links below.
Kate and Sue McBeth arrived in Lapwai in 1873 and built on Spalding's work to strengthen the Presbyterian Church. Learn more about their work by following the links below.
Explore a map of the Mission Era Sites
Explore all the Mission Era Sites that make up Nez Perce National Historical Park on the interactive map below. To learn more information about the site, click 'Learn more' at the bottom of the description. Zoom in to see a site or area more clearly.
Last updated: April 29, 2023