The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Following the Nez Perce War of 1877, federal representatives promised the Nimiipuu who surrendered with Chief Joseph repatriation to their Pacific Northwest homes. Instead, they were driven into exile. This book tells the story of the Nimiipuu captivity and deportation and offers an in-depth analysis of the resistant Nez Perce, Cayuse, and Palus bands during their incarceration.
Focusing on the tribes’ eight years in exile, J. Diane Pearson describes their arduous forced journey from Montana to the Ponca Agency in Indian Territory. She depicts their everyday experiences in a captivity marked by grueling poverty and disease to weave a compelling story of tragedy and heroism.
The resistance of the survivors is a never-before-told story reconstructed through new sources and oral histories. Pearson tells how the Nimiipuu advocated for their aboriginal and civil rights and for the return to their Wallowa Valley homelands. And she describes how they turned their prison odyssey into a time of renewal, learning to adapt to federal strategies in order to force authorities to heed their voices, and finally negotiating their release in 1885.
Impeccably researched, with insights into the prisoners’ daily lives, The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory is the only comprehensive record of this phase of Nez Perce history.