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Historic Agriculture and Extension Resources

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Learn About Regional Treaties, Acts, & Wars


Map showing the Nez Perce Indian Reservation and the Wallowa Valley (1876). Washington State University Manuscripts and Special Collections.

There have been treaties, broken Federal promises, and fierce wars that continue to have lasting impacts on the land and people of the Inland Northwest. To understand how land is utilized today it is important to understand these significant moments in history.

Below are just a few of the events that that have shaped modern-day Eastern Washington and the Palouse.

The Walla Walla Council / The Treaty of 1855 - This "treaty" would have everlasting impact on the people and land of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Read about the treaty from the Oregon Historical Society or view the actual minutes as they were reported.

Subsequent Treaties of 1863 and 1868. After gold was discovered in the Clearwater River area, prospectors and settlers began squatting on Nez Perce land by the thousands. This led to the reneging of the Walla Walla Council promises and new "treaties." You can read a bit about them from the Nez Perce Tribe's History website. You can also read the minutes of the 1863 "treaty."

The Nez Perce War of 1877. After the Federal Government was unable to force all Nez Perce and Palouse onto the reservation a brutal war occurred which saw the Federal Government chase a band of Nez Perce and Palouse warriors, women, children, and elderly across the inland Northwest and the Plains for almost 2000 miles.

The Dawes Act was an act of Congress that divided and opened up promised reservation lands to the general public. It created a land-grab for indigenous lands and further cemented a legacy of broken Federal promises. The Wikipedia entry on the Dawes Act is a good place to start your reading.

Other Resources

See also:

  • The Plateau Peoples' Web Portal -   A collaboration between many northwestern and plains tribes, the WSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and other organizations. This portal serves as an extensive repository of cultural materials from many different sources and across many different mediums. Includes hand written materials, photographs, audio/visual recordings, and more.
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