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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lolo in Missoula County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

The Nez Perce Sikum

 
 
The Nez Perce Sikum Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, May 10, 2018
1. The Nez Perce Sikum Marker
Inscription.  Sikum is the Nez Perce word for horse. The Nez Perce people were introduced to the horse in the 1730’s. The word “appaloosa” was created by white settlers. The Nez Perce learned through selective breeding that they could produce a horse uniquely suited to their homeland and the country around you where they frequently traveled.
The Nez Perce National Historic Trail travels down Lolo Canyon and was a critical and frequently used route for the Nez Perce between their homeland and the bison rich plains to the east. According to Samuel Penny, Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee:
“This was our commerce trail. We followed this trail east to hunt buffalo. We came here for camas. We came here in our flight from the soldiers.”

On February 15, 1806, Meriwether Lewis wrote of the Nez Perce horses in his journal:
“Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, elegantly formed, active and durable, in short, many of them look like fine English corsers and would make a figure in any country.”

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The rich history of the sikum lives on today with the Nez Perce through their Young Horseman Program. The Nez Perce maintain an active horse breeding program in Lapwai, Idaho. The Nez Perce horse of today is a unique cross between the Akhal - Teke of Turkmenistan and the Appaloosa. Through this program they maintain their reputation as accomplished equestrians.
The Nez Perce Horse Registry represents the Akbal-Teke/Appaloosa cross, a horse of athletic prowess, endurance and toughness necessary to travel long distances and climb mountains. This breed is also quite competitive in modern equine sports.


The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped here on September 11, 1805.
 
Erected by U.S. Forest Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsNative Americans. A significant historical date for this entry is September 11, 1805.
 
Location. 46° 45.27′ N, 114° 13.536′ W. Marker is near Lolo, Montana, in Missoula County. Marker is on U.S. 12 near Arena Drive, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16175 US Highway 12, Lolo MT 59847, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The "Soldiers' Corral" (approx. 2˝ miles away); Taking Cover… (approx. 2˝ miles away); Pauses and Parleys
The Nez Perce Sikum Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, May 10, 2018
2. The Nez Perce Sikum Marker
(approx. 2˝ miles away); Outwitted and Outflanked (approx. 2˝ miles away); Fort Fizzle (approx. 2.6 miles away); Lewis and Clark on Lolo Creek (approx. 2.6 miles away); A Crossroads of Culture (approx. 6˝ miles away); Following Formation (approx. 6˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lolo.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located near Lolo Peak Arena.
 
Also see . . .  About us. Appaloosa Horse Club entry:
It is unknown how many of the Nez Perce’s horses were spotted, but a possible estimate is ten percent. Settlers coming into the area began to refer to these spotted horses as “A Palouse Horse”, as a reference to the Palouse River, which runs through Northern Idaho. Over time, the name evolved into “Palousey,” “Appalousey,” and finally “Appaloosa.” (Submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
The Nez Perce Sikum (Appaloosa) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Appaloosa Horse Club
3. The Nez Perce Sikum (Appaloosa)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 410 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 10, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Apr. 25, 2024