Ties that Bind

Page 8 of 18

Part 8, Ties that Bind

A Tsoopnitpeloo Legend

As Told by Otis Halfmoon Of the Nez Perce Tribe


There were some incidents that took place there in Kamiah, though, that was interesting to my people, and to contemporary people might sound kind of odd, but yet you have to consider the times. If you use twentieth century values and use 'em in the 19th century, you're going to be off, and even go further—eighteenth century—you're going to be off. Things change through time.

When Lewis and Clark and crew, and Corps of Discovery, were there in Kamiah, I mentioned they got along real well. And the old time method of making allies, creating allies with another people, with another tribe, was through intermarriage, and children. And some of the women slept with Lewis and Clark, and maybe some of the other Corps of Discovery. But we know two children that was left with the Nez Perce people that were created in 1806. We had a son of Clark, and we also had a son from York.

These two individuals left children there with the Nez Perce people. And that was a tie that the Nez Perce people always had with Lewis and Clark. And that was probably one of the reasons why, then, the Nez Perce people said they would never fight the white people. That they would always be friends with the white people, because of these two children that were left, because of the Corps of Discovery.

The son of Clark, he grew up into quite a young man. And the impact of Lewis and Clark was very strong, because right after Lewis and Clark it seemed we had more fur trappers came to the area, more white people, French fur trappers. And they came to the area, and the son of Clark witnessed these things as well. He grew up watching these—but yet he was Nez Perce. He was half Nez Perce, half so-ya-poo, but yet he was Nez Perce. He was raised that way with the culture, with the ways of our people. Again, to witness these fur trappers come to our country.