Nez Perce Country

Overview

The rivers, canyons, and prairies of the Columbia Basin are the homeland of the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce, or Nimiipuu, inhabited much of what is now north central Idaho and portions of Oregon and Washington for thousands of years. The story of how western settlement drastically affected the Nimiipuu is one of the great and at times tragic sagas of American history.
 
Renowned western historian Alvin M. Josephy Jr. describes the Nimiipuu’s ...

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Nez Perce Country

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Overview

The rivers, canyons, and prairies of the Columbia Basin are the homeland of the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce, or Nimiipuu, inhabited much of what is now north central Idaho and portions of Oregon and Washington for thousands of years. The story of how western settlement drastically affected the Nimiipuu is one of the great and at times tragic sagas of American history.
 
Renowned western historian Alvin M. Josephy Jr. describes the Nimiipuu’s attachment to the land and their way of life, religion, and vibrant culture. He also chronicles the western expansion that displaced them, beginning with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 and followed by the influx of traders and trappers, then miners and farmers. Josephy traces the ill fortune of the Nez Perce as their homeland was carved up by treaties, creating an atmosphere of hostility that would culminate in the Nez Perce war of 1877 and conclude with Chief Joseph’s famous pronouncement: “I will fight no more forever.”
 
Despite the challenges of the past, the Nimiipuu have maintained their ties to the land. In his introduction to the book, Jeremy FiveCrows details how the tribe has fought for self government to undo the damage wrought by shortsighted practices.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

“FiveCrows’ insight into the ‘still-vibrant heritage’ of the tribe is a valuable addition to Josephy’s traditional historical commentary.”

— Deborah Donovan, Booklist

Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"This book''s attention to place, its careful handling of some of Nez Perce country''s best-known stories, as well as its focused, traditional narrative structure will excite those readers looking to refine their knowledge of Nez Perce country."

—Nathan E. Roberts, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

Booklist - Deborah Donovan
“FiveCrows’ insight into the ‘still-vibrant heritage’ of the tribe is a valuable addition to Josephy’s traditional historical commentary.”—Booklist
Pacific Northwest Quarterly - Nathan E. Roberts
"This book's attention to place, its careful handling of some of Nez Perce country's best-known stories, as well as its focused, traditional narrative structure will excite those readers looking to refine their knowledge of Nez Perce country."—Nathan E. Roberts, Pacific Northwest Quarterly
School Library Journal

This posthumously published monograph by the founding chair of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian broadly surveys the history of the Nez Perce, whose homeland once encompassed portions of present-day Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The text focuses on the relations with citizens of the United States following the Lewis and Clark expedition. Particularly poignant are the accounts of how tribal leaders were divided during treaty negotiations, as some advocated accommodating the desires of the United States by moving to reservations while others were determined to preserve their sovereignty at all costs. Josephy (The Indian Heritage of America) deftly situates Chief Joseph within this leadership struggle to demonstrate that while he was a respected tribal leader, he was not the "Indian Napoleon" that he was mythologized to be by white society. By contextualizing Chief Joseph properly, Josephy illuminates other Nez Perce leaders whose efforts have been largely ignored. Although Josephy's history concludes in the 1960s, the introduction by Jeremy FiveCrows (publications editor, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission) vibrantly brings the Nez Perce story to the present. This well-written monograph is recommended for public and academic libraries.
—John Burch Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803276239
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Series: Bison Original Series
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 717,816
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Alvin M. Josephy Jr. (1915–2005) was a leading historian of the American West and author of many award-winning books, including Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom, available in a Bison Books edition. Jeremy FiveCrows is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and serves as the tribal liaison and publications editor at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Prior to working for the commission he was the editor of the Nez Perce tribal newspaper, the Tats Titoqan.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     vii
Introduction   Jeremy FiveCrows     ix
Editorial Note     xviii
Welcome to Nez Perce Country     xix
Before the White Man     1
Omens of Change     2
The Fur Traders     33
Agents of Change     40
Time of Crises     59
The Gathering Storm     83
War Comes to the Non-Treaties     108
Aftermath     136
Today     156
Index     163
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