Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Area of Focus

Social Sciences

Abstract

The Nez Perce National Historic Trail (NPNHT), used by Chief Joseph and “Non-Treaty Nez Perce” during the Nez Perce War of 1877, reaches from Wallowa Lake, Oregon to the Canadian border near Chinook, Montana. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Billings, Montana Field Office, the University of Montana (UM), and the Montana State University-Billings (MSU-B) surveyed a region where the Nez Perce Trail passed through lands that are currently managed by BLM’s Billings Field Office. This presentation will focus on the methods used to locate this section of the NPNHT and the outcomes of the findings. Fieldwork included pedestrian survey of the area believed to be the trail corridor, along with landscape analysis of possible corridor routes. Sections of the trail were photodocumented and described as well as documented using handheld GPS units, with coordinates entered into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Extensive archival work at the Nez Perce National Historical Park and the Tribes Archives was also done before and after the fieldwork. The Archivist at the Nez Perce National Historical Park directed me to focus on research material that Jerome Greene had compiled over the years for his book The U.S. Army and the Nee-Mee-Poo Crisis of 1877: Historic Sites Associated with the Nez Perce War since most of it was primary and secondary information from both Nez Perce and the military. As we know from the cultural heritage of the Nez Perce people, the story associated with the NPNHT is powerful, and being able to document archaeological traces of the route and/or sites along the route will continue to establish connections to places associated with the history of this event. Even if the sites cannot be identified, this thesis will present the history of one portion of the NPNHT and will underscore why the route is still important as a series of places with cultural and historical significance that transcend physical remains.

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Apr 14th, 1:00 PM Apr 14th, 1:20 PM

Locating the Nez Perce Trail in Carbon County, Montana

The Nez Perce National Historic Trail (NPNHT), used by Chief Joseph and “Non-Treaty Nez Perce” during the Nez Perce War of 1877, reaches from Wallowa Lake, Oregon to the Canadian border near Chinook, Montana. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Billings, Montana Field Office, the University of Montana (UM), and the Montana State University-Billings (MSU-B) surveyed a region where the Nez Perce Trail passed through lands that are currently managed by BLM’s Billings Field Office. This presentation will focus on the methods used to locate this section of the NPNHT and the outcomes of the findings. Fieldwork included pedestrian survey of the area believed to be the trail corridor, along with landscape analysis of possible corridor routes. Sections of the trail were photodocumented and described as well as documented using handheld GPS units, with coordinates entered into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Extensive archival work at the Nez Perce National Historical Park and the Tribes Archives was also done before and after the fieldwork. The Archivist at the Nez Perce National Historical Park directed me to focus on research material that Jerome Greene had compiled over the years for his book The U.S. Army and the Nee-Mee-Poo Crisis of 1877: Historic Sites Associated with the Nez Perce War since most of it was primary and secondary information from both Nez Perce and the military. As we know from the cultural heritage of the Nez Perce people, the story associated with the NPNHT is powerful, and being able to document archaeological traces of the route and/or sites along the route will continue to establish connections to places associated with the history of this event. Even if the sites cannot be identified, this thesis will present the history of one portion of the NPNHT and will underscore why the route is still important as a series of places with cultural and historical significance that transcend physical remains.