Nimiipuu, “the people,” were created in North Central Idaho at the dawn of time, according to tribal legend. French Fur Traders gave them the name Nez Perce when they began trading with the tribe. Today, visitors can view petroglyphs in Hells Canyon dating back more than 12,000 years ago, depicting stories of a time gone by told by the Nez Perce of Lewis Clark Valley.
The Nez Perce saved the lives of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition, who entered this area hungry and without adequate shelter from the harsh winter. The explorers would likely have suffered a tragic ending if not for the assistance of the Nimiipuu. The tribe provided them food, shelter, and guidance for months while they were stuck here in the region that straddles the border between what is now Idaho and Washington.
Today, the tribe hosts PowWows and other community events in various locations throughout the year. Tribal enterprises include forest products, limestone quarry operations, two popular casinos, an RV park, convenience stores and the Red Wolf Golf Club. Travelers are welcomed today just as the Nez Perce welcomed the Corps of Discovery Expedition nearly 200 years ago.
Nez Perce Tourism is the warm welcome to Nimiipuu Country, offering the only tours created to connect you to Nimiipuu culture through interactive storytelling, song, drum and dance. From riverbeds to mountain tops, Nez Perce Tourism offers land and water journeys, giving insight into the Nimiipuu way of life, past and present.
The rich history and customs of Nimiipuu are featured at the Nez Perce National Historical Park’s interpretive center and museum. The park includes 24 separate sites and offers informational programs to educate people about the tribe. The park memorializes Nimiipuu history and culture. It also houses a fine collection of Nez Perce clothing and accouterments, utilitarian artifacts, a dug-out canoe and a model of an ancient lodge.
Click here to learn more about this amazing culture.
Paid for in part by a grant from Idaho Tourism