The Nez Perce Indians were nomadic and traveled around their 17,000,000 acre territory as the weather dictated. Parts of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon were covered on their travels through their nation. Following their food sources through the seasons , they ate a variety of berries, roots, and seeds. They hunted bear, elk, sheep, and mountain goats. They fished in the rivers when the climate allowed.
The Nez Perce Indians wore decorated clothing. Their shirts were decorating with
fringe and pants. The woman wore buck skin dresses colored with dyes and adorn
with animal teeth and beads. Both men and women wore moccasins made from animal
Lewis and Clark came across the Nez Perce Indians in 1805. The Indians housed them, cared for their horses, and nursed them back to health. In the spring after the thaw they were provided guide to get them over the mountains. It is said that the Lewis and Clark Expedition would have been a failure had it not been for the kindness and help of the Nez Perce Indians.
In 1877 the Nez Perce War began when some you Nez Perce warriors attack a settlement of people who had slain their families. Fleeing in fear of retaliation the Nez Perce Indians traveled over 1500 miles trying to reach safety in Canada. The need for food and rest overcame then in Montana at the Bear Paw Mountains only about 40 miles from the border. After a five day battle launched by the attack of the U.S. Battalion on September 30, Chief Joseph surrendered. His words after surrendering that have become famous,
"Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more, forever."