Before contact with Euroamericans, the Nez Perce made their tools from materials available to them. For example, digging sticks, used for digging root foods, were made from wood or antler; baskets used for cooking and gathering were made from plant fibers; and eating utensils might be made from wood or matting. Plant materials used in indigenous technology include extracted fibers, wood, bark, pitch, roots, stems/branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, cones, lichens, and fungi.
Many Nez Perce tools were/are made from strong wood such as mountain-mahogany (pohos, Cercocarpus spp.), serviceberry (kike’ye, Amelanchier alnifolia), yew (tamqay, Taxus brevifolia), syringa (sise qiy, Philadelphus lewisii), oceanspray (hisiimseqe, Holodiscus discolor), and hawthorn (ci’snim, Crataegus doublasii). Early garments were often woven from willow (ta’xus, Salix scouleriana), sagebrush (qe’mqem, Artemisia tridentata), and redcedar (tala’tat, Thuja plicata) bark, western clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia), and bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata).