Crossing the Indian Country, 1804 1806
 
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In the Wieppe Prairie

William Clark began distributing presents almost as soon as he stumbled onto Weippe Prairie. His Nez Perce hosts responded by feeding their guests. Soon a male chief invited them to his lodge, later taking him to the camp of Twisted Hair. Clark’s host drew him a map of the river system leading to the Pacific.

A Nez Perce story recorded a century after the explorers’ first visit adds a different perspective to this story of hospitality and diplomacy. In the early twentieth century, Wotollen, a grandson of one of the chiefs who played host to Clark, explained that when the Americans suddenly arrived, a woman named Watkuweis had urged her leaders not to hurt them. The story of her effort appears here.

Click here to read Wotollen's story.