Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)View Artist Biography
A Nez Perce
Volume, 12.5 x 9.5 inches
"The history of the Nez Perces, when studied as a part of the North American Indian's conflict with civilization, is convincing that there was absolutely no course, policy, or conduct open to him which insured fair treatment, nor was there any road open to him which seemed materially to alleviate the situation or to stay the grasping encroachment. The inert, unorganized Indians of southern California were literally crowded from the earth. The fact that they, with their pacific disposition, made no resistance has no effect on the covetous settler, nor did it cause the Government to reach to them a helping hand in appreciation of their good behavior. They suffered through good conduct. The warlike, haughty tribes of the plains stood the imposition as long as they could, and then their long-smoldering resentment broke into flame and they struck back as only Indians can, and they suffered through their hostility. The Nez Perces, a mentally superior people were friendly from their first contact with white men, and as a tribe they always desired to be so. Their history since 1855, and particularly the war of 1877, tells how they were repaid for their loyalty to the white brother."