Welcome To

Native American History

Find a collection of recommended literature below the introduction

Introduction by Angelika Ursula Dietrich

The time has come to tell the TRUTH! 

This introduction will be hard to accept by many, just as it was for post-war Germany when the Holocaust and other atrocities of the Great War and WWII came to light. While I am more than grateful that the United States saved the world from a barbaric and brutal regime that considered itself superior, it is still in denial of its own History: The creation of a nation on the soil of an ancient people, brutally murdering and abusing those who had already lived there for thousands of years. 

Many Euro-American Christians claim that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values. But if that were the truth, its History would not have unfolded as it did. In fact, Jesus, who is the foundation of Judeo-Christianity, taught love, inclusion, and peace. 

When Europeans arrived at the shores of “Turtle Island,” the teachings of Jesus were long left behind. The Bible, exclusively interpreted by the Vatican, Bishops, and priests, was lectured to a largely illiterate people who, without much hesitation, accepted the word of its religious leaders no matter how violent and unjust it seemed to “save their souls.” Hence, European Christians not only accepted but endorsed murder and bloodshed in the name of the Bible.

Justified genocide in the Americas by people of Christian faith under the mantra “murder to conquer by divine decree” wasn’t anything original or the first time in History. More than nine hundred years ago (1096 AD), The Crusades, a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims, continued the preconceived Papal mindset of power over peace in foreign lands, completely and deliberately ignoring the teachings of Jesus. A vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the Pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean murdering people of different faith in the name of the Christian God.

The man who introduced genocide to the Americas

Less than 400 years later (October 12, 1492), an Italian Christian explorer named Christopher Columbus made landfall in what is now the Bahamas. In his diaries, he describes the violent and easy takeover of an unarmed native people who he thought to be subhuman and unfit to be his equal. Once again, Papal interpretations of the Holy Book justified genocide in the Americas, and Columbus introduced just that.

The pilgrims arrive on Turtle Island

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower arrived at the shores of Cape Cod carrying pilgrims who continued to believe in the same teachings. Christians were unequivocal superior over people who didn’t subscribe to their faith. From then on and for hundreds of years to come, European Christians and their descendants were at war with People who had lived in the Americas since time began. Christianity, in the minds of the pilgrims, was “the only true faith.” Anything else was to be eradicated any which way.

The conquerer always writes History. 

Documented world history tells us that atrocities committed during wars, such as murder, rape, and slavery, were forceful and convincing practices under the mantra “the end justifies the means.” The conquerer always blames their victims for the necessary violence. Proclaimed unfit to occupy their ancient home, better off dead than spreading falsehoods about the universe, Native Americans were doomed unless they surrendered their ancient and sacred practices to Christianity. And yet, those who converted were still not considered equals simply because they weren’t white. Natives continued to experience forceful and violent removal from their ancient homelands, starvation and death by loss, and destruction of the land that fed and nurtured them for thousands of years. Native children were ripped from their families and placed in Indian Boarding Schools run by missionaries or the federal government. It was Captain Richard H. Pratt who said in 1892 during the National Conference of Charities and Correction on the education of Native Americans, “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man.” 

It was not until 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), that Native Americans gained the right to practice their customs, religion, and language regardless of the 1st Amendment that protected the freedom of speech and religion since 1787. Also in 1978, Congress passed, and the President signed the Indian Child Welfare Act, giving Native American parents the legal right to refuse their child’s placement in a school. Damning evidence related to years of abuses of students in off-reservation boarding schools contributed to the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Congress approved this act after hearing testimony about life in Indian boarding schools.

I carry a torch of my own

I was born in the 60s on German soil in the midsts of a Roman Catholic Church that desperately tried to indoctrinate me with the same lies and deceit of assumed superiority. I defied that concept from the very beginning and was kicked out of Bible study in public school at the age of nine when I questioned the man-made doctrine of a vengeful God who only accepted the select white. 

Because of where I was born, I carry the History of a people who, too, justified murder and bloodshed to increase real estate across foreign borders. They called it “Lebensraum.” Between 1939 and 1945, eleven million people, including women, children, and old men, lost their lives to genocide in what we know as the Holocaust. People of non-German descent were considered unfit, dangerous, and useless. Most Germans knew and accepted the new doctrine out of fear or greed. Only the few in remote areas were unaware until the NAZIS stood before their doors. It took post-WWII Germany decades to admit and surrender to the truth. Unfortunately, more than 400 years later, since the arrival of the Mayflower, not much has changed in the United States. Villains are still considered heroes, earlier actors are still hailed on the big screen, and the Christian religion is still used to characterize the founding of the Nation when it was not so. The denial of genocide against Native Americans is still alive and well.

It is time to look at the truth. 

It is time to accept that the United States was founded on genocide and not the teachings of Jesus.
It is time to put “he did, she did” aside. We would never consider such nonsense regarding the Holocaust; hence, we can never accept it in American History!
It is time to sit down and acknowledge the sins of our European ancestors to create a better world in which all of us are equal and included.
A world in which every one of us is accepted without limitations and constraints. A world that leaves behind religious dogma that has zero to do with the mission of a man named Jesus who taught nothing but love and peace.

Native American History in Wallowa County, oregon

   I have called Oregon my home since 1988.  Since 2002, I have been a resident of the waláwa, aka Wallowa County, Oregon, that has been home to the Nez Perce for more than 15,000 years. Starting in 2004 when I attended my first Tamkaliks PowWow, I  made it my mission to study un-biased Native American literature and listen to elders to understand Native American history including that of the Nimiipuu as it actually happened. I have read and studied every book I listed below.
   I will never speak for the tribes! I only convey the information I have learned through my studies and listening to elders to a world that is still saturated with misinformation and lies about the people who have lived on this continent since time began.
~Angelika Ursula Dietrich

The Nimiipuu, aka Nez Perce

The Nez Perce reservation is dark green and the land they ceded to the United States is light green. The Columbia Basin is dark tan.

Historically, the Nez Perce Tribe functioned as a self-governing nation. Later, treaties with the federal government preserved the tribe’s status as a sovereign nation within the United States.
For more information visit: https://www.nezpercecultural.org/ 

Traditional Ways

Originally, the Nimiipuu people occupied an area that included parts of present-day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. They moved throughout this region and parts of what are now Montana and Wyoming to fish, hunt, and trade.

The Nez Perce Tribe’s government included a leader for many aspects of their traditional lifeways, such as fishing, hunting, warfare, and religion. Councils guided the decisions of each leader. The Nimiipuu people chose leaders and council members based on their knowledge and skill sets.

Today, many traditional ways remain part of the Nimiipuu tribal culture.

The Treaties

In 1855, Hinmut-too-yah-lat-kekeht’s father, the man known to white men as Old Joseph, entered into a treaty with Isaac Stevens, governor of Washington. Old Joseph and a number of other chiefs gave some of the land they had always called their own to the white man, but they made sure that the Wallowa Valley was left to them. It would never be given away or sold to “The Hairy Man” from the East.

The treaty of 1855, the first ever signed by White men and Nez Perce, was quickly broken. Annuities promised by the government either arrived late or never arrived at all. The Nez Perce were justifiably upset.

In 1863, the government decided to negotiate yet another treaty. Old Joseph attended the negotiations, but when he discovered the white men wanted possession of his valley, he refused to sign. Others, however, did sign, and the government laid claim to the sacred land. The treaty caused a split among the Nez Perce. And on all horizons, war clouds, black and angry, were gathering.

Source: https://nezperce.org:

Native American History Resources - As it Really happened

Murder State: California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873

By Brendan C. Lindsay

In the second half of the 19th century, the Euro-American citizenry of California carried out mass genocide against the Native population of their state, using the processes and mechanisms of democracy to secure land and resources for themselves and their private interests. The murder, rape, and enslavement of thousands of Native people were legitimized by notions of democracy – in this case mob rule – through a discreetly organized and brutally effective series of petitions, referenda, town hall meetings, and votes at every level of California government.

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873

by Benjamin Madley

Between 1846 and 1873, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Madley describes pre-contact California and precursors to the genocide before explaining how the Gold Rush stirred vigilante violence against California Indians. He narrates the rise of a state-sanctioned killing machine and the broad societal, judicial, and political support for genocide. Many participated: vigilantes, volunteer state militiamen, U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. congressmen, California governors, and others.  

American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492

By Russell Thornton

This demographic overview of North American Indian history describes in detail the holocaust that, even today, white Americans tend to dismiss as an unfortunate concomitant of Manifest Destiny. They wish to forget that, as Euro-Americans invaded North America and prospered in the “New World,” the numbers of native peoples declined sharply; entire tribes, often in the space of a few years, were “wiped from the face of the earth.”

The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West

by Peter Cozzens

With the end of the Civil War, the nation recommenced its expansion onto traditional Indian tribal lands, setting off a wide-ranging conflict that would last more than three decades. In an exploration of the wars and negotiations that destroyed tribal ways of life even as they made possible the emergence of the modern United States, Peter Cozzens gives us both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail. 

American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court : The Masking of Justice

By David E. Wilkins 

In this book, David Wilkins charts the “fall in our democratic faith” through fifteen landmark cases in which the Supreme Court significantly curtailed Indian rights. He offers compelling evidence that Supreme Court justices selectively used precedents and facts, both historical and contemporary, to arrive at decisions that have undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated massive tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian religious rights, and curtailed other rights as well.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
      Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History Kindle Edition

by Joseph Marshall 

Drawing on vivid oral histories, Joseph M. Marshall’s intimate biography introduces a never-before-seen portrait of Crazy Horse and his Lakota community.
Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought the U.S. Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow Lakota Indians, he was a dutiful son and humble fighting man who—with valor, spirit, respect, and unparalleled leadership—fought for his people’s land, livelihood, and honor. In this fascinating biography, Joseph M. Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portrait of the man, his times, and his legacy.

Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

By John G. Neihardt

Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk’s searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, as a history of a Native nation, or as an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable.

courage beyond expectations

by F. C. Budinger 

Prophets said they would come. Now Northwest Indians are facing miners and play-soldiers, raping, killing and robbing natives who only want to be left alone. Set in the Northwest before the Civil War, this true story captures the spirit of natives who displayed Courage Beyond Expectations in their futile efforts to retain their traditional way of life. In researching the history of his people, a contemporary Indian writer, finds the long-lost journal of a Bavarian artillery corporal. Hans Schüler had recorded his part in this tragic campaign.
In turning his discovery into a book, Clyde Mullan is startled to uncover a link to his ancestry. The Indian side of the conflict is seen through the eyes of a young Spokan brave.

Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Recommended Literature and more...

The Nez Perce Indians And The Opening Of The Northwest

The Nez Perce Indians And The Opening Of The Northwest

By Alvin M. Josephy Jr.

Is there any chapter in American history more dramatic than that of the Northwest from the time of Lewis and Clark to the tragic defeat of Chief Joseph in 1877? Heroic – and not so heroic -characters abound: explorers, fur traders, miners, settlers, missionaries, ranchers, Indian chiefs and their tribespeople. Now, when interest in Lewis and Clark and the American Northwest has never been higher, comes the first complete and unabridged paperback edition of Alvin Josephy’s masterwork.

Nez Perce Country 1

Nez Perce Country

By Alvin M. Josephy Jr. and Jeremy FiveCrows

The rivers, canyons, and prairies of the Columbia Basin are the homeland of the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce, or Nimiipuu, inhabited much of what is now north central Idaho and portions of Oregon and Washington for thousands of years. The story of how western settlement drastically affected the Nimiipuu is one of the great and at times tragic sagas of American history.

Thunder in the Mountains:

Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War

By Daniel J. Sharfstein

Oliver Otis Howard thought he was a man of destiny. Chosen to lead the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War, the Union Army general was entrusted with the era’s most crucial task: helping millions of former slaves claim the rights of citizens. He was energized by the belief that abolition and Reconstruction, the country’s great struggles for liberty and equality, were God’s plan for himself and the nation.


Chief Joseph's Own Story

by Chief Joseph - compiled by by George Percés Burrows

Joseph’s speeches from when he traveled to Washington, D.C. First hand, his words.

I Will Fight No More Forever: Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce War

by Merrill D. Beal

Unpublished letters and diaries by eyewitnesses, interviews with decedents, an intimate knowledge of the country enrich this narrative of the heroic Nez Perce Indian War waged in 1877 against relocation.
The result is a well documented chronicle offering new perspective on prewar Indian-white relations, United States government pressures and nontreaty rebellions, the five battles, subjection and surrender, and on the character of the leaders on both sides.

The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story

(Pivotal Moments in American History)

By elliot West

To tell the story, West begins with the early history of the Nez Perce and their years of friendly relations with white settlers. In an initial treaty, the Nez Perce were promised a large part of their ancestral homeland, but the discovery of gold led to a stampede of settlement within the Nez Perce land. Numerous injustices at the hands of the US government combined with the settlers’ invasion to provoke this most accomodating of tribes to war. West offers a riveting account of what came next: the harrowing flight of 800 Nez Perce, including many women, children and elderly, across 1500 miles of mountainous and difficult terrain. 


by Kent Nerburn

lewis and clark among the nez perce

Strangers in the Land of the Nimiipuu

by Allen V. Pinkham and Steven R. Evans

This extraordinary new look at Lewis and Clark among the Nez Perce represents a breakthrough in Lewis and Clark studies. Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce is the first richly detailed exploration of the relationship between Mr. Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery and a single tribe.

James Ronda’s groundbreaking Lewis and Clark Among the Indians (1984) reversed the lens for the first time, to look broadly at the Lewis and Clark expedition through the Native American point of view.

Yellow Wolf: His Own Story

by L.V. McWhorter

The Nez Perce campaign is among the most famous in the brief and bloody history of the Indian wars of the West. Yellow Wolf was a contemporary of Chief Joseph and a leader among his own men. His story is one that had never been told and will never be told again. A first person account, through author L.V. McWhorter of the Nez Perce’s ill-fated battle for land and freedom.

Hear Me My Chiefs!: Nez Perce Legend and History

by L.V. McWhorter

McWhorter uses interviews with other Nez Perce and available documents to tell pre-War stories of Nez Perce origins, their battles with other Indians, of missionaries and treaties and then of the War itself.

Days with Chief Joseph

by Erskine Wood

This is the century old diary of a young white boy who lived in the Nez Perce camp of Chief Joseph following exile to Colville, WA. Erskine’s father, aide-de-camp to General O.O. Howard, befriended Chief Joseph and sent his son to live with Joseph & his wives in their teepee at Nespelem, WA, for two seasons in 1892 & 1893.


The Nez Perce Indians And The Opening Of The Northwest

by Alvin M. Josephy

The encyclopedic account, beginning in 1805, of the settlement of Oregon and Washington as it relates to the Nez Perce people.

I will tell you of my war story

I Will Tell of My War Story: A Pictorial Account of the Nez Perce War

by Scott M. Thompson

A middle school art teacher and scholar of Native American culture presents, discusses, and interprets the contents of a valuable firsthand pictorial account of events during and after the 1877 Nez Perce war. Produced by an anonymous Nez Perce warrior who participated in the conflict, the small pocket notebook (simply titled Cash Book ) illustrated with red, blue, and black pencil is reproduced in the present volume, which also discusses the circumstances surrounding the volume’s preservation and analyzes the drawings. 

A Little Bit of Wisdom: Conversations With a Nez Perce Elder

by Horace P. Axtell

In A LITTLE BIT OF WISDOM, Horace Axtell, a contemporary Nez Perce elder and spiritual leader, recounts to Margo Aragon his family’s history and his own personal journey. It is a book about growing up Christian while maintaining a strong tribal identity, about going first to war and then to prison, and then coming home to rediscover the Long House and the sacred practice of the Seven Drum Religion and the Sweat House.

Nez Perce Women in Transition, 1877-1990

by Caroline James

Includes unique individual accounts recorded directly from personal interviews with Nez Perce women ranging in age from twenty to ninety. The narratives, in combination with a broad selection of photographs, present some of the major historical, political, and cultural changes that have occurred and provide an opportunity to view Nez Perce women as they made and continue to make dramatic transitions.

Treaties Nez Perce Perspectives Paperback

by Nez Perce Tribe

Writings by members of the Nez Perce tribe on the perspectives of past Nez Perce leaders

From the Wallowas

From the Wallowas

by Grace Bartlett

A collection of essays about people and places around the county, includes a few details of early settler interaction and understanding of the Nez Perce.

The Wallowa Country 1867-1877 LG

The Wallowa Country 1867-1877

by Grace Bartlett

Almost a day-by-day account of the last years of Indian tenure and first years of white occupation of the Wallowa Country. Includes some early photographs.

Salmon and His People: Fish & Fishing in Nez Perce Culture

by Dan Landeen

Details, stories and quotes exploring the role of fish in Nez Perce life.


by Eugene S. Hunn

This ethnogeographic atlas of Native place names presents a compelling account of interactions between a homeland and its people. A project of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – composed of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla Tribes in eastern Oregon – Cáw Pawá Láakni documents and describes more than four hundred place names. The full-color, detailed maps and the narrative that introduces and supports them paint a picture of a way of life. This meticulous assemblage of memory and meaning echoes cultural and geographical information that has all but disappeared from common knowledge.

Unlikely Alliances: Native Nations and White Communities Join to Defend Rural Lands

by Zoltán Grossman (Author), Winona LaDuke (Foreword)

Often when Native nations assert their treaty rights and sovereignty, they are confronted with a backlash from their neighbors, who are fearful of losing control of the natural resources. Yet, when both groups are faced with an outside threat to their common environment―such as mines, dams, or an oil pipeline―these communities have unexpectedly joined together to protect the resources. Some regions of the United States with the most intense conflicts were transformed into areas with the deepest cooperation between tribes and local farmers, ranchers, and fishers to defend sacred land and water.

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