Nez Perce Tribal Territory Map

Nez Percé Indian Chiefs and Leaders

The chiefs and leaders of the Nez Percé tribe that come down to us in history are the tales of two coins. They’re either known for their friendliness to the white race, who came to their land and conquered it away, or their known for their fierce battle skills as they viciously fought for their rights to hold their land. In the end, the names that follow and the biographies they reflect provide an illustrative look into the lives of the Nez Percé Indians.

  • Biographical Sketch of Mark Arthur – Nez Percé
    A biographical sketch of Mark Arthur a full-blood Nez Percé, ordained pastor of the oldest Presbyterian church West of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Biography of Chief Joseph – Nez Percé
    Chief Joseph. Hinmaton-yalatkit. The leader of the Nez Percé in the hostilities of 1877. His mother was a Nez Percé, his father a Cayuse, who re­ceived the name Joseph from his teacher, the missionary Spalding, who was with Dr. A. Whitman and who went to the Idaho country in the late thirties of the 19th century. Chief Joseph’s native name was Hinmaton-yalatkit (Hinmaton, `thunder’; yalatkit, ‘coming from the water up over the land.’ – Miss McBeth), but both he and his brother Ollicot were often called Joseph, as if it were a family name. Joseph was a man of fine presence and impressive features, and was one of the most remarkable Indians within the borders of the Union.
  • Biography of Chief Lawyer – Nez Perce
    A biography with photos of the Nez Percé chief, Lawyer.
  • Biography of Smohalla – Nez Perce
    Smohalla, an Indian prophet and teacher, the originator of a religion of which the followers were called “Dreamers.”

Nez Perce,

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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