The Nez Perce Indians are original people of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State. Most Nez Perce people live in Idaho today.
The Nez Perces live on a reservation, which is land that belongs to them and is under their control. The Nez Perce nation has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, they are also US citizens and must obey American law. In the past, each Nez Perce band was ruled by a chief, who was elected by a tribal council of important men from each village. Today, they are ruled by a tribal council which is elected by all the people.
The food that the tribe ate included salmon and fish and a variety of meats from the animals that they hunted. They supplemented their protein diet with seeds, nuts and fruits and used cornlike roots to make ‘kouse’, this was also by Native Americans to create a variety of medicines.
By the middle of the 1800s, settlers had flooded into the land of the Nez Perce, which was about 13 million acres. In 1846, the U.S. government took ownership of the land from the British and it became part of the United States. Conflicts arose between the Nez Perce. Many settlers ignored the Indian ancestral rights to the land. Others stole horses and killed the Nez Perce in disputes. Often these acts against the Native Americans went unpunished
Then gold was discovered on the Nez Perce land, and the land became very valuable to the people of the United States. In 1863, the government of the United States offered the Nez Perce a treaty that would take away over 90 percent of the land that settlers hadn’t already taken.