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This extraordinary new look at Lewis and Clark among the Nez Perce represents a breakthrough in Lewis and Clark studies. With the publication of Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce, we have our first opportunity for a richly detailed exploration of the relationship between Mr. Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery and a single tribe. James Ronda’s...
This extraordinary new look at Lewis and Clark among the Nez Perce represents a breakthrough in Lewis and Clark studies. With the publication of Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce, we have our first opportunity for a 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. Nearly three decades later, Nez Perce historian Allen Pinkham and Steve Evans have examined the journals of Lewis and Clark with painstaking care to tease out new insights about what Lewis and Clark wrote about their hosts the Nez Perce. Pinkham and Evans evaluate both what Lewis and Clark understood and what they misunderstood in the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) lifeway and political structure. More particularly they have re-examined the journals for clues about how the Nez Perce reacted to the bearded strangers. They have also gathered together and put into print for the first time the stands of a surprisingly rich Nez Perce oral tradition. Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce is a generous and careful re-evaluation of what we all thought we knew about Lewis and Clark west of the Bitterroot Mountains. It is also a template for a series of tribal histories of the Lewis and Clark expedition that will be inspired by this book. Incidents we thought we knew backwards and forwards suddenly take on a new light when the historical lens is reversed, and the reader begins to understand what the extended visit of Lewis and Clark meant to their hostsapproximately four months of daily interchange with a community of Indians the white visitors regarded as especially friendly, hospitable, and helpful to the success of the expedition.
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