Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
Nez Perce War
Journey through Yellowstone
On August 23, 1887, more than 600 men, women, and children camped in the woods near here. Sustained by courage, social structure, and knowledge of the land, they were midway from their homeland in Eastern Oregon to the hope of freedom in Canada. They carried with them the burden of grief from the loss of their homeland and the sharp pain of losing loved ones.
With them were two thousand horses. Behind them were hundreds of soldiers. Within them were strength, endurance, and the ability to face enemies and atrocities. This was the Nez Perce War of 1877.
For more than two decades, the Nez Perce endured pressure to sign away their homeland and live on a reservation. In 1877, United States government representatives ordered “non-treaty” Nez Perce—bands standing firmly against confinement—onto the reservation.
The War Begins
Conflict erupted, followed by battle in White Bird Canyon. The soldiers were quickly defeated. General Howard arrived with reinforcements, but the Net Perce eluded them in rugged terrain.
As the war continued, Chiefs Toohoolhoolzote, Five Wounds, Rainbow and others strategized tactics. Chief Heinmot Tooyalakeket (Chief Joseph, left) led the
Tragedy at Dawn
The Nez Perce gained many miles on General Howard. But on August 9th, Colonel Gibbon’s soldiers swooped into the sleeping Nez Perce camp, killing men, women, and children. Warriors leapt to defend their people.
Hope and Heartache
The Nez Pace out-maneuvered and battled their foes repeatedly, upheld both young and old, and withstood unthinkable losses. Under unrelenting pursuit, they traveled 1,170 miles, eventually falling short on supplies. In the bitter cold of late September, just 40 miles from Canada, they were overtaken. With hearts heavy and torn, they surrendered.
Like many others, Chief Joseph's wife was wounded severely ay Big Hole. In combat, he protected their newborn in his arms.
Location. 44° 34.444′ N, 110° 49.368′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Teton County. Marker is on Grand Loop Road (U.S. 89) half a mile south of Fountain Flat Drive, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Moran WY 83013, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Chance Encounter (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Chance Encounter Murky Past . . . Promising Future (approx. 0.8 miles away); Earthquake’s Offspring (approx. 1.8 miles away); Fountain Paint Pot (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named Fountain Paint Pot (approx. 1.8 miles away); White Dome Geyser (approx. 2.6 miles away); Excelsior Geyser (approx. 3.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photo of Chief Heinmot Tooyalakeket (Chief Joseph).
On the lower right is a photo of "Nez Perce Tepees, Yellowstone River, 1871."
Also see . . .
1. Flight of the Nez Perce (pdf file). Yellowstone National Park (Submitted on July 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Yellowstone National Park. (Submitted on July 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Native Americans • Wars, US Indian •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 749 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.