Treaty Of Peace and Friendship Between the United States and the Nez Perces Tribe

While Wright’s force was encamped at Willow Creek, a point about half way between The Dalles and Walla Walla, Colonel Steptoe, Captain Kirkham and Lieutenant Davidson, with an escort of fifteen dragoons, passed on the way to Walla Walla. Colonel Steptoe was returning from, a trip to headquarters at Vancouver; Captain Kirkham was to attend Colonel Wright’s expedition as assistant quartermaster, and Lieutenant Davidson had been ordered to take command of Lieutenant Gaston‘s company, which was still at Walla Walla. One of the important objects which it was desired to have accomplished before Colonel Wright should start upon the campaign was that of entering into a treaty of peace and alliance with the strong and friendly disposed Nez Perces. Colonel Steptoe was entrusted by General Clarke with the duty of conducting the negotiations with this tribe, but apprehending from certain remarks he had heard from the Nez Perces that they supposed him to entertain different views from those held by Colonel Wright, and knowing, too, that any negotiations had with other tribes, or any portion of the Nez Perces met in the field during the campaign, would be had under the direction of Colonel Wright, Colonel Steptoe suggested the advisability of placing the matter of this treaty also in the hands of Colonel Wright. Accordingly, after calling together the principal men of the tribe, so far as they could be reached, Wright succeeded in having executed the following 1 :

Article 1. It is agreed that there shall be perpetual peace between the United States and the Nez Perces tribe.

Article 2. In the event of war between the United States and any other people whatever, the Nez Perces agree to aid the United States with men to the extent of their ability.

Article 3. In the event of war between the Nez Perces and any other tribe the United States agree to aid the Nez Perces with troops.

Article 4. When the Nez Perces take part with the United States in war they shall be furnished with such arms, ammunition, provisions, &c., as may be necessary.

Article 5. When the United States take part with the Nez Perces in war, they (the United States) will not require the Nez Perces to furnish anything to the troops unless paid for at a fair price.

Article 6. Should any misunderstanding arise hereafter between the troops and the Nez Perces, it shall be settled by their respective chiefs in friendly council.

Headquarters United States Troops
Camp in the Walla Walla valley
August 6, 1858

Hates-e-mah-li-kan, his x mark
Te-pe-lat-tee-me-nay, his x mark
Tosepl, his x mark.
Tkotee, his x mark.
Quie-Quie-Nee-Mat, his x mark.
Hat-hat-hishe-e-sat, his x mark.
Three Feathers, his x mark.
Speaking Eagle, his x mark.
Wat-hat-tie-mat-hat-nat, his x mark.
Ne-he-list-hat-kol-so-men, his x mark.
He-ne-mat-ah-tu-ne-pan, his x mark.
Ick-he-hat-ite-e-mee-ham, his x mark.
We-ast-kat-shuck, his x mark.
Captain John, his x mark.
Sim-le-huste, his x mark.
Kosh-le-nuck-hat, his x mark.
Took-ta-le-mat-ham, his x mark.
Alat-lat-line-tah-kan, his x mark.
Nuste-nuke-ne-wat-ne-han, his x mark.
Wat-tah-ye-hat-hi-at-kim, his x mark.
Ko-lay-i-at-kim, his x mark.
Ko-yo-at-mat-ah-ham-skin, his x mark.
Yu-me-ite-e-pihe, his x mark.
Te-te-hu-nat, his x mark.
Richard, his x mark.
It-mut-last-te-ne-mat, his x mark.
Hin-net-mat-lust-la-wute, his x mark.
Ki-ye-ki-at-nast, his x mark.
Timothy, his x mark.
Mit-lat-ekin, his x mark.
Nat-lat-nat-lat-how-list, his x mark.
Jesse, his x mark.
Te-pe-li-at-hat-tie-me-pat, his x mark.
Wapt-last-tee-mat-hee-nat, his x mark.
Wat-hie-lat-stork-e-mat-hie, his x mark.
Mat-le&mat-lee-slat-stee-e-ne-mat, his x mark.
Itse-ee-hae-hat-wutre, his x mark.

G. Wright, Colonel 9th Infantry, Commanding.

I. F. Hammond, Assistant Surgeon United States Army.
Jas. A. Hardie, Captain 3rd Artillery.
G. B. Dandy, 2nd Lieutenant 3rd Artillery.
John Mullan, 1st Lieutenant 2nd Artillery.
J. Howard, 2nd Lieutenant 3rd Artillery.
P. A. Owen, 1st Lieutenant 9th Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

Headquarters Department of Pacific
Fort Vancouver,
August 13, 1858
N. S. Clarke, Colonel 6th Infantry, Brevet Brigadier General, Commanding.

In 1877, nineteen years after the signing of this treaty, the first article therein was broken. During the summer of that year a large body of Nez Perces, under the leadership of Chief Joseph, waged bitter warfare against the whites, during the course of which a number of settlers were murdered and many of the regulars and volunteers were slain. A great many of the principal men and others of the tribe, however, refused to join in the hostilities. Among the latter were the little old Chief Timothy, Chief Lawyer, and others who signed the treaty.

The pursuit of the hostile Nez Perces by General Howard, who then commanded at Vancouver, the skillful retreat of Joseph, who in his movements displayed no small degree of genius, compelling the admiration of those versed in military tactics, his surrender to General Miles, near the Missouri river, in eastern Montana, after a flight of nearly six hundred miles, are all matters of history.

Manring, B. F. Conquest of the Coeur d'Alene, Spokane and Palouse Indians. The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 2, 1912.

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  1. I searched our own treaties and those of Kappler, and do not find this treaty listed. I believe this is the treaty Chief Joseph talks about that his father did not sign.[]

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