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I Will Fight No More Forever Historical Context

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"Nez Perce" is the name given to a group of Native American peoples who traditionally occupied the plateau regions of the Northwest—eastern Oregon and Washington, and western Idaho. Nez Perce means "Pierced Nose" in French and refers to an early tradition, reported by French fur trappers, of some members of the tribe to wear shell ornaments in their noses. As the National Geographic book Indians of the Americas points out, though, there is some question about whether this practice actually existed among the Nez Perce. Europeans often mistook one group of American Indians for another.

The Nez Perce were skilled in hunting and salmon fishing as well as weaving, and lived a semi-migratory life—traveling as far as Wyoming and Montana for hunting and trade. The range of their travels broadened with the introduction of the horse, probably...

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