The Flight of the Nez Percé Tour Dates: August 29 to September 6, 2021, with historian Neil Mangum We'll follow the Nez Percé National Historic Trail from Spokane, Washington to Great Falls, Montana, through some of the most beautiful landscapes of the American West, including the route through Yellowstone Park
Forced to abandon hopes for a peaceful move to the Lapwai Reservation, the Nez Percé chiefs saw flight to Canada as their last promise for peace. The flight of the Nez Percé began on June 15, 1877. Led by Chiefs Joseph, Looking Glass, White Bird, Ollokot, Lean Elk, and others, a band of 800 men, women and children moved northeast, hoping to seek safety with their Crow allies. Only 250 were warriors — the rest were women, children, elderly, and sick. On June 17 U.S. army and volunteer soldiers approached a Nez Percé camp on Whitebird Creek in western Idaho. When a party of six warriors bearing a flag of truce approached the soldiers, one of the volunteers fired at them, thus precipitating the Nez Perce War of 1877.
After defeating the cavalry force at the Battle of White Bird Canyon, the flight intensified and more than a dozen more battles and skirmishes would be fought in the next several months. Fighting the army all along the trail, the number of Nez Perce was severely reduced. Just 40 miles from Canada they were trapped at Snake Creek at the base of the Bears Paw Mountains in Montana by the U.S. Army. After a five-day fight, the remaining 431 members of the tribe were beaten and Chief Joseph surrendered on October 5, 1877
This (1994) video takes you on the 1,170-mile journey taken by the Nez Perce tribe in 1877. Pursued by the United States Army, 750 Nez Perce men, women, and children made a heroic yet futile flight seeking freedom and peace far from their homeland. The program highlights the need to preserve and interpret this landscape of history. [U.S. Forest Service]