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:

National Anthropological Archives
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution, MRC 152
Washington, D.C. 20560

202/357-1976; naa@nmnh.si.edu

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Ahlakat (Photo taken in 1897)

Ahlakat was born around 1860. He was the son of Chief Ollokot and the nephew of Chief Joseph. He made his home in Ronan, Montana.

Ahlakat (Photo taken in 1903)

Lucy Allen with Young Nez Perce Girl


Tom Hill or Hustul(Photo taken in 1912)
Tom Hill fought in the War of 1877. He was strongly opposed to the Treaty of 1863 and any further accommodations with the Whites as they had failed to honor or enforce provisions of the 1855 Treaty. During negotiations in 1863, the government argued in part that it could not remove Whites from reservation lands; and the government would be able to better protect Indians on the smaller reservation proposed. Tom Hill was correct--the government did not enforce the provisions of the Treaty of 1863 either, which it was obligated to do.

Chief Jason or Kalkalshuatash (Photo taken in 1868)

Chief Jason, along with Chief Lawyer and Chief Timothy, signed the Treaty of 1868 in Washington, D.C. The Treaty did not achieve much for the Nez Perce other than to restore provisions of the Treaty of 1863. Under the Treaty of 1863, the government was to build schools and other facilities on the Reservation; but these funds had been squandered and wasted by corrupt Indian Agents and government officials.

Chief Jason & Perrin Whitman (Photo taken in 1868)

Perrin Whitman was called upon to serve as interpreter for the Treaty of 1863 when many Nez Perce Chiefs opposed the assignment of Reverend Spalding and Robert Newell. The Council was to begin on May 13, 1863, but instead was delayed until Perrin Whitman's arrival.

Chief Joseph (Photo taken in 1877-Bismark, Dakota Territory)

Contrary to popular belief, during and shortly after the War of 1877, Chief Joseph did not play a leading role as a military leader. His operational responsibility during the War was as "caretaker" of the Nez Perce people. Even so, Joseph was a great Native American leader. He was essentially a pacifist and believed in non-violence and the power of persuasion. His simple, yet profound, logic influenced Presidents, Cabinet Members and Congress. His lifelong struggle to restore that which was taken from his people--their ancestral lands and the right to live free--free to pursue an economic livelihood of choice; free to worship as they choose; and most of all, free to live on the land that had been torn from his people. These principles won Joseph the hearts and respect of thoughtful men the world over. He was steadfast in these principles and beliefs until death and lived essentially as a political prisoner from 1877 until his death on September 21, 1904, on the Colville Reservation.

Chief Joseph & Nez Perce Chiefs (Photo taken in late 1860s or early 1870s)

The men in the photo with Joseph are not identified. Joseph is wearing a felt hat with feathers placed in a ribbon and is sitting on the far right of the first row.

Chief Joseph with General John Gibbon (Photo taken on the shore of Lake Chelan in 1889)

On August 9, 1877, at dawn, Colonel Gibbon and his forces attacked the sleeping Nez Perce camp at the Big Hole. Gibbon officially reported 83 Nez Perce dead and made no mention of women and children killed in his official report. Of the 83 Nez Perce killed, 50 were women and children. Later, John Gibbon would become the commander of the Department of the Columbia with the rank of General. While commander, General Gibbon ordered the arrest of Skolaskin, a traditional Nez Perce religious leader, and Gibbon had him sent to prison at Alcatraz. Skolaskin was imprisoned without the benefit of trial and was finally released after three years imprisonment as a political prisoner in 1892. As a condition of his release, Skolaskin had to sign the following statement: "In case the authorities will permit me to return to my people, I promise to obey the Indian Agent; to treat employees of the Agency well and to make no threats against them; also that I will not make any trouble amongst the Indians nor between them and the white people, nor give any advice or talk to the Indians that will make them discontented or not willing to obey the agent."

Chief Joseph & Amos F. Wilkinson (Photo taken in 1897)

Amos Wilkinson was the nephew of Chief Joseph

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