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Nez Perce For Kids

The Nez Perce are Native Americans. They traditionally lived in modern-day Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Their name means “nose pierced” in French.

Confusingly, nose piercing isn’t really that common for the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce call themselves Nimiipuu.

Flag Of The Nez Perce Tribe

What did the Nez Perce eat?

The Nez Perce would fish for salmon. They hunted animals like deer and rabbits.

They would eat the meat but also use the fur for clothing.

Beautiful Sioux Dresses

What houses did the Nez Perce live in?

In winter and summer, the Nez Perce live in different style houses. In winter, they lived in wooden-framed cabin houses with triangular rooves.

In summer hunting trips, they would live in tent-style houses, like tepees.

Original Nez Perce Territory Is Green Color Area And The Reduced Reservation Is Brown Color Area

How was the Nez Perce nation organised?

The Nez Perce had a government. It was a council. Each clan would have a chief who would represent that clan.

These chiefs made up the council.

Heart Of The Monster By Phil Konstantin

Today, the Nez Perce live on a reservation, which has their own laws. However, they still have to also follow the laws of the US government because they are also U.S. citizens.

What clothes did they wear?

The Nez Perce generally used to wear clothing made from animal skin.

The women would wear long dresses that were decorated with beads. The men wore shirts and leggings. In winter, people would wear thick robes over the top to keep warm.

A Traditional Nez Perce Beaded Shirt

Nez Perce horses

Nez Perce Indians With Appaloosa Horse


The Nez Perce are famous for breeding horses. They were known for their great skills for horses. They are credited with breeding the Appaloosa horse.

In 1995, they created a new breed called the Nez Perce breed.

How did the Nez Perce meet Europeans?

Chief Josephs Band
Title Nez Perce group known as “Chief Joseph’s Band”, Lapwai, Idaho, spring, 1877
Date 1877
Notes A large group of men on horseback with mountains in the background. In the front center of the group can be seen Chief Joseph, White Bird and Looking Glass.

The Nez Perce met Europeans in 1805. U.S. explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark went to Nez Perce territory.

In the 1840s, lots of Europeans were passing through. The Nez Perce signed a treaty with Europeans in 1855. This treaty was supposed to protect their homelands.

gold ingots

European settlers became very interested in Nez Perce land in 1860 when gold was discovered there.  The U.S. government then decided they wanted more Nez Perce land.

Nez Perce Warriors

The Nez Perce War 1877

There was a leader called Chief Joseph. He refused to leave the Nez Perce land.

There were many battles between the U.S. soldiers and the Nez Perce. They fled to Canada where they fought many battles on the 1,400 mile journey. They surrendered in the end.

The Nez Perce were defeated by the settlers in 1877. Some Nez Perce were sent to Oklahoma and some remained on a reservation in Idaho.

Nez Perce War Battle Map

Quiz Time!

Where did the Nez Perce live?

What does Nez Perce mean?

What would the Nez Perce fish for?

What houses did the Nez Perce live in?

What did the Nez Perce use to make clothing?

Native Americans


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