Nez Perce
Archive Photography

The photos below are presented for public viewing and education on the Internet. They have been made available by the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. Text for the archive photos presented for your viewing below has been written by Stan Hoggatt of Western Treasures and may not reflect the view of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. The photos may not be copied or used in any manner except for your viewing on this page on the Internet. You may purchase copies of these photos for private or commercial use by writing:

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Chief Joseph with Ahlakat, Ben Beveridge, and Amos F. Wilkinson(Photo taken in 1897)

Chief Joseph (Photo taken in 1900)

Chief Joseph (Photo taken in 1901)

Chief Joseph (Photo taken in 1900s)

Chief Joseph (Photo taken in 1900s)

Home of Chief Joseph on Colville Reservation (Photo taken in 1900-1)

A punitive government, which was determined to subdue in soul and spirit the proud Nez Perce, had Chief Joseph and his people sent to Fort Leavenworth as prisoners of war following Joseph's surrender at the Bear Paw Battle. What followed, was an American Tragedy from which America can take little solace or pride. On November 23, 1877, the Nez Perce arrived at Fort Leavenworth where they would remain until the following summer. There in the squalor of a malaria-infested camp, over 21 of the Nez Perce patriots would die of malaria as a calloused government stood idly by. Indignation by some government officials began to turn humanitarian wheels slowly. In July of 1878, the Department of the Interior requested the War Department to deliver the prisoners to its jurisdiction. A short time later, the Nez Perce were loaded on a train and taken to Baxter Springs. By October, 47 more Nez Perce had died. From there, the Nez Perce were relocated to the Ponca Agency. In time, men of conscience became aroused in part through the efforts of Chief Joseph, and the Nez Perce were returned to Idaho and Washington.

In May, 1883, the War Department approved a proposal by the Indian Bureau to return 29 Nez Perce to Idaho. By 1884, the number of survivors had dwindled to 282 from the original number of 431 who had surrendered with Joseph. Finally, in the spring of 1885, the surviving Nez Perce prisoners were returned to Idaho and Colville. Joseph was not allowed to return to his beloved Idaho and continued to be treated as a prisoner of war and instead was sent to Colville along with many other Non-Christian Nez Perce. From Colville, Joseph, as a Political Prisoner of War, would continue his struggle for justice for his people and the return of their ancestral lands until his death on September 21,1904.

Archie B. Lawyer, Mark Williams, James Rueben and James (John) Montieth (standing) (Photo taken prior to departure for Indian Territories in 1879)

Archie B. Lawyer, Mark Williams and James Rueben were students of Miss Sue McBeth. The three young men were appointed as teachers to Chief Joseph's Nez Perces in Indian Territory. They arrived in Indian Territory in December, 1878.

Chief Looking Glass (Photo taken in 1871)

Chief Looking Glass was a principal architecht of many of the military strategies employed by the Nez Perce during the War of 1877. He was a warrior of renown and frequently hunted buffalo in Montana. In July, 1874, Looking Glass, along with his men, were allies of the Crow and helped the Crow defeat the Sioux at a battle on the mouth of Prior Creek, Montana. The Crows were appreciative of the help of the Nez Perce and extended to them an offer of support should they ever be called upon for support. Looking Glass believed the Crows would honor their earlier offer; and, so he sought an alliance with the Crows. Looking Glass probably felt the Crows could help the Nez Perce escape the military forces of General Howard by assisting them in an escape to Canada. It is unlikely that he considered such an alliance in terms of helping to defeat the forces of Howard, since all the Nez Perce Chiefs were interested in escaping from these forces and not in fighting them. The Crows refused the Nez Perce request for support sometime while they were in the Yellowstone Park Area. After exiting the Clarks Fork Canyon, which is near Yellowstone Park, the Nez Perce headed for Canada. There, the Nez Perce believed they would be permitted to stay as Sitting Bull and his followers had done following the defeat of General Custer in 1876.