Archaeology of the Nez Perce War of 1877 in Yellowstone National Park, WY.

Author(s): Staffan Peterson; Daniel Eakin

Year: 2015


The Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail was designated by Congress under the National Trails System Act in 1986 to commemorate the 1877 flight of the non-treaty Nez Perce from their homelands in present day Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, including 85 miles within Yellowstone National Park. In 2008, Yellowstone began archaeological investigations of the trail corridor. This six-year project includes consultation with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; and the Nez Perce Tribe; historical documentary research; broad scale archeological inventory; site-specific investigations to identify historical association with the trail, with participation of tribal archeological program staff; and creation of park interpretive material and information for park Management plans.

Over seventy sites ranging from Paleoindian to the early 20th century were discovered, including five previously unverified 1877-related sites and a high-elevation bivouac where the Nez Perce may have rested prior to their descent to the plains on their ill-fated race to Canada to seek refuge with Sitting Bull. Results are already being incorporated into Fire Management, Interpretation, Concession Management, and Resource Management Plans, and contributing important information archaeological and interpretive information to adjacent parks and national forests.

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Cite this Record

Archaeology of the Nez Perce War of 1877 in Yellowstone National Park, WY.. Staffan Peterson, Daniel Eakin. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396363)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;