First Advisor

Jesse L. Gilmore

Term of Graduation

Summer 1969

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Nez Percé Indians -- Wars (1877), Nez Percé Indians -- Government relations



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 172 pages)


This is a study of the obvious and intimated causes of the Nez Perce War of 1877 in Idaho Territory and a collection of reasons explaining why the terms of surrender agreed upon by Chief Joseph and Colonel Nelson A. Miles were not honored by the United States government. There is a relationship between the events preceeding and following the war as they determined the history of the Nez Perce nation throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. National, state and territorial interests, cultural and religious differences, racial prejudices and white greed for Indian lands all contributed either directly or indirectly in determining those events, and, despite the Indians entreaties for fair treatment, molded the Nez Perce nation into the model desired by the white majority of the United States.

Research for this study included an examination of the reports of the Secretary of War, the Secretary of Interior, and the Board of Indian Commissioners from the years 1877 to 1893. The Congressional Record and the Senate Miscellaneous Documents from that period were also examined. An excellent source for local for local attitudes was the Lewiston Teller from the years 1875 to 1892. Copies of the newspaper are on file in the Lewiston, Idaho city library. Additional information was obtained from the newspaper files of the Lewiston Morning Tribune, on file in that newspaper’s office, and the Spokesman Review, filed at the Spokane, Washington city library. The director of the Nez Perce National Park kindly loaned me his microfilm copies of letters and reports from agents of the Lapwai, Lehmi and Fort Hall reservations and related correspondence from the years 1862 to 1880. The latter source is also on microfilm at the University of Idaho. Original sources, monographs and general works were researched in Multnomah County and the Oregon Historical Society libraries of Portland, Oregon.


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