Nez Perce WarAcross the meadow, a fire burned in the campsite of nine tourists on the night of August 23, 1877. The Cowan party had unknowingly camped near hundreds of Nez Perce men, women, and children who were under violent pursuit by the United States Army. Through the darkness, the Cowan's firelight flickered and was spotted by Hemene Moxmox (Yellow Wolf) and other Nez Perce scouts. With the heightened instincts of war-torn hearts, the scouts entered the camp at daybreak. They dared not risk the Army learning the whereabouts of their people. Instead of taking chances, they took the tourists with them.The coming hours revealed human emotions found in any war: fear, anger, and compassion. A Nez Perce leader, Wa-wook-ke-ya Was Sauw (Lean Elk), released the campers with a warning to stay hidden, but the small group was later overtaken. This time tempers flared. George Cowan was shot and left for dead, but eventually made a full recovery. Others sustained shots or escaped. Emma Cowan and her siblings were released unharmed the following day.< Reverse Side : > Nez Perce WarJourney through YellowstoneOn August 23, 1877, more than 600 men, women, and children camped in the woods near here. Sustained by courage, social structure, and knowledge of the land, they were midway from their homeland in Eastern Oregon to the hope of freedom in Canada. They carried with them the burden of grief from the loss of their homeland and the sharp pain of losing loved ones.With them were two thousand horses. Behind them were hundreds of soldiers. Within them were strength, endurance, and the ability to face enemies and atrocities. This was the Nez Perce War of 1877.Mounting PressureFor more than two decades, the Nez Perce endured pressure to sign away their homeland and live on a reservation. In 1877, United States government representatives ordered "non-treaty" Nez Perce - bands standing firmly against confinement - onto the reservation.The War BeginsConflict erupted, followed by battle in White Bird Canyon. The soldiers were quickly defeated. General Howard arrived with reinforcements, but the Nez Perce eluded them in rugged terrain.As the war continued, Chief Toohoolhoolzote, Five Wounds, Rainbow and others strategized tactics, Chief Heinmot Tooyalakeket (Chief Joseph, left) led the elderly men, women, and children.Tragedy at DawnThe Nez Perce gained many miles on General Howard. But on August 9th, Colonel Gibbon's soldiers swooped into the sleeping Nez Perce camp, killing men, women, and children. Warriors leapt to defend their people.Like Many others, Chief Joseph's wife was wounded severely at Big Hole. In combat, he protected their newborn in his arms.Hope and HeartacheThe Nez Perce out-maneuvered and battled their foes repeatedly, upheld both young and old, and withstood unthinkable losses. Under unrelenting pursuit, they traveled 1,170 miles, eventually falling short on supplies. In the bitter cold of late September, just 40 miles from Canada, they were overtaken. With hearts heavy and torn, they surrendered.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Friday, August 7th, 2015 at 2:01am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||12T E 514063 N 4935651|
|Decimal Degrees||44.57406667, -110.82286667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 44° 34.444', W 110° 49.372'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||44° 34' 26.64" N, 110° 49' 22.32" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Which side of the road?||Marker is on the right when traveling South|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near US-20, Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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