Native Americans
Nez Perce Reservation

The Nez Perce Reservation is located in North Central Idaho on 700,000 acres largely bordered by the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake Rivers. Nez Perce Tribe members refer to themselves as the Nimiipuu, meaning- and originally inhabited 13 million acres that encompassed parts of four states.

Young Nimiipuu Dancers keep old traditions alive in the modern world. Photo by Jack McNeel.

Lapwai, a town of 2,000, is home to tribal offices, businesses and schools. Other prominent communities within the reservation include Orofino, Kamiah, Kooskia, Craigmont, Winchester and Culdesac. Highways #12, #13, and #95 form a circular loop connecting the towns and numerous historic points of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Nez Perce Flight.

Spalding is the site where Presbyterian missionary Henry Spalding established a mission in 1836. The Nez Perce Visitor Center and Museum, part of the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, now sits adjacent to the former mission.

The Clearwater River Casino and Resort, west of the museum, has been open since October 2006. Other motels, hotels and campgrounds are located throughout the reservation and include Winchester Lake State Park. The largest nearby community with all service needs is Lewiston, nine miles west of the reservation.

Tribal members total 3300, the majority of whom live on the reservation. Numerous members hold advanced degrees in many fields including medicine and law. A large fisheries department with state of the art hatchery facilities employs as many as 250 people. Long associated with the breeding of Appaloosa Horses, the tribe is now developing a new breed called the Nez Perce Horse.

For additional information about the Nez Perce Tribe, see their official website at www.nezperce.org.

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