The Nez Perce People
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||buckskin, tactics, cunning, refused, homeland, western, treaty, meaning, especially, bands, traveled, army, pits, surrender, battle, roots
||Nez Perce, Chief Joseph, Red Napoleon
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The Nez Perce People
By Mary Lynn Bushong
1 As with many western tribes, the Nez Perce loved horses. They prided themselves on breeding a particular kind of horse. That horse was the Appaloosa.
2 The Nez Perce people moved around their territory with the seasons. The women dug root crops in the early spring. The men caught salmon in the rivers. In the summer, they moved into mountain meadows. There they also hunted and fished and dug more roots, like the wild carrot and wild potato. Those foods along with dried berries, nuts, and dried meat would feed the people all winter. In late fall they would return to their winter villages.
3 The men hunted all the time and would often get wild sheep, bears, elk, and other deer. They also hunted smaller animals and birds.
4 The Nez Perce were divided into bands of people. Each band had its own area. Each band was made of many villages. Each village was led by a head man who looked after his people.
5 The land of the Nez Perce covered parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. They moved with the seasons from the plains to the mountains and back
6 The name Nez Perce was given to the people by an interpreter with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. It is French, meaning pierced nose. This is the wrong name for this people. They didn't piece or wear ornaments in their noses. Those were the Chinook further north. The Nez Perce called themselves the Ni-Mii-Puu [NEE-Mee-Poo], which meant "the people."
7 The Nez Perce men wore long buckskin shirts with a breech cloth, leggings, and moccasins. They also wore feathered bonnets for special occasions. When it was cold they wrapped themselves in a bison hide.
8 The women wore doeskin dresses that were dyed or decorated with beads. They also wore moccasins that came up to their knees.
9 Nez Perce homes were often long houses covered with mats. These were sometimes one hundred feet long. They would house many families. Fire pits or hearths were placed at regular distances down the length of the house. Sometimes the people also used house pits. After horses came, the people used teepees especially for their summer homes.
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