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The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory: Nimiipuu Survival

The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory: Nimiipuu Survival


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Following the Nez Perce War of 1877, federal representatives promised the Nimiipuu who surrendered with Chief Joseph repatriation to their Pacific Northwest homes. Instead, they were driven into exile. This book tells the story of the Nimiipuu captivity and deportation and offers an in-depth analysis of the resistant Nez Perce, Cayuse, and Palus bands during their incarceration.

Focusing on the tribes’ eight years in exile, J. Diane Pearson describes their arduous forced journey from Montana to the Ponca Agency in Indian Territory. She depicts their everyday experiences in a captivity marked by grueling poverty and disease to weave a compelling story of tragedy and heroism.

The resistance of the survivors is a never-before-told story reconstructed through new sources and oral histories. Pearson tells how the Nimiipuu advocated for their aboriginal and civil rights and for the return to their Wallowa Valley homelands. And she describes how they turned their prison odyssey into a time of renewal, learning to adapt to federal strategies in order to force authorities to heed their voices, and finally negotiating their release in 1885.

Impeccably researched, with insights into the prisoners’ daily lives, The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory is the only comprehensive record of this phase of Nez Perce history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806139012
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date: 05/28/2008
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

J. Diane Pearson teaches American Indian Studies in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She publishes in national and international journals on the history and contemporary issues of Native Americans. 

Patricia Penn Hilden, Professor Emerita of Native American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is author of From a Red Zone: Critical Perspectives on Race, Politics, and Culture.

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