Nez Perce National Historical Park
PO Box 1000
Lapwai, ID 83540
WELCOME to Nez Perce National Historical Park
The park has thirty-eight sites in four states - Idaho, Oregon,
Montana, Washington. A park map is available through the link to the
left and can be used in conjunction with this list.
Donald MacKenzie established a trading post near the confluence
of the Clearwater River in September 1812. The Nez Perce were not
interested in the fur trade and MacKenzie sold out to the British.
Coyote and Black Bear got into an argument. In frustration,
Coyote threw his fishing net on a hill and tossed Black Bear on
another, turning him into stone. Both features are visible today.
Ant and Yellowjacket
Ant and Yellowjacket were arguing over who had the right to fish
for Salmon when they got into an argument. Coyote asked them to
stop. They continued to fight, whereby Coyote turned them into a
stone arch that is visible today.
The Spalding site has seen many uses by the Nez Perce and was the
location of Henry and Eliza Spalding�s mission. The park's visitor
center and museum is located here as well. Nearby is where the
Spalding's first settled in 1836.
Northern Idaho Indian Agency
As part of the treaty process, the U.S. Government set up an
agency to oversee the implementation of the terms of the treaties.
In 1862, a detachment of volunteers chose this location for their
fort. The 1883 officers' quarters at the southwest end of the parade
ground is one of the few original buildings to have survived.
Craig Donation Land Claim
This is the site of the claim by the first Euro-American settler
in Idaho. William Craig was a mountain man, an interpreter, and
friend of the Nez Perce.
St. Joseph's Mission
This was the first Roman Catholic mission among the Nez Perce. It
was dedicated in Sept. 1874 by Father Joseph Cataldo, who had built
it. The church and grounds are currently closed.
Skirmishes with the U.S. Army and volunteers occurred near here
on July 3 and 5, 1877.
More than 8,000 years ago humans first made this home and
continuously inhabited the area until about 600 years ago.
Where wheat fields stretch to the horizon today, camas once grew.
Camas bulbs were a major food source for the Nez Perce. They
gathered here in late summer and early fall to dig them.
In 1877, the non-treaty bands congregated at this ancient council
site, known as Tepahlewam, before moving onto the reservation.
Frustrated by injustices against the Nez Perce, three Nez Perce
warriors raided homesteads on the Salmon River from this site.
White Bird Battlefield
On June 17, 1877, the first battle of the Nez Perce War was
fought here. The U.S. cavalry was defeated with heavy losses and the
Nez Perce began their long journey to find safety and sanctuary. A
self-guided walking tour of the battlefield is available at the
On July 11, 1877 Gen. Oliver O. Howard crossed the Clearwater
River and hoped to take the Nez Perce by surprise. His hopes came to
naught and the fighting ended with the Nez Perce withdrawing.
Heart of the Monster
This is the location of the Heart of the Monster, where Coyote
defeated a monster and, in turn, created the Nez Perce people. Audio
stations tell the story in English and in the Nez Perce languages.
Asa Smith Mission
In April 1839, Rev. and Mrs. Asa Smith established a mission in
the Kamiah area. Unsuited to the demands of such work, the Smiths
left in 1841.
Lewis and Clark Long Camp
Near here Lewis and Clark camped among the Nez Perce for nearly a
month in the spring of 1806.
In the early fall of 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition rested
here and built canoes of hollowed-out logs for the final leg of
their trip to the Pacific Ocean.
For thousands of years, this village site was used by the Nez
Perce and their ancestors.
This was a root-gathering place for the Nez Perce and it was here
on September 20, 1805, that Lewis and Clark first met the Nez Perce.
During the 1877 War, the Nez Perce came here after the Battle of the
In September 1860, gold was found on the Nez Perce reservation,
triggering another treaty that reduced the size of the reservation.
The other site of interest is the old Shoshone County courthouse,
completed in 1862 and the oldest public building in Idaho.
For many generations, Nez Perce have come here to dig for camas.
General Howard camped here at the end of July, 1877 while pursuing
the Nez Perce over the Lolo Trail.
Lolo Pass and Trail
This historic Nez Perce trail was used by Lewis and Clark in 1805
and 1806. During the 1877 War the Nez Perce followed the trail on
into Montana. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a visitor center at
Looking Glass' 1877 Campsite
The Looking Glass Band tried to remain neutral in the conflict
between the non-treaty Nez Perce. The Army attacked the village.
Looking Glass regarded this as treachery and joined the others
against the Army.
The unique petroglyphs of this area are evidence of the longevity
of the Nez Perce occupation of the area. Defacing federal
archeological sites is a criminal offense.
Hasotino was a site used until the end of the 19th century and
was located near an important eel fishery.
Camas Meadow Battle Site
After the tragedy at Big Hole, the Nez Perce gained time by
stealing more than 200 of the Army�s pack mules and horses,
halting their advance.
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