If you ever visit Tonkawa, be sure to visit the museum

In June 1879, the Nez Perce were moved to near Ponca City, Oklahoma, along a route which is taken by US 166 through southern Kansas today. They traveled by wagon; the trip took nine days, with overnights at Picher, Chetopa, Coffeyville, Cedarvale, and Arkansas City.

The Nez Perce located their camp at the confluence of the Chikaskia River and Salt Fork of Arkansas on the west bank of Chikaskia, two miles from its junction with Salt Fork. The Ponca agent didn't even know they were coming and had no supplies, food, or quinine for them.

Only the climate killed many of us. All the newbom babies died, and many of the old people too. It was the climate. Everything so different from our old homes. No mountains, no springs, no clear running rivers. We called where we were held Eeikish Pah [Hot Place]. All the time, night and day, we suffered from the climate.

Yellow Wolf

Annual reports from the Oakland agents — a different man every year— repeated the same themes: the Nez Perce were melancholy and homesick, and there were fewer of them each year.

The Nez Perces located at Oakland comprise three hundred and twenty eight souls and / am sorry to be compelled to report that there has been a large amount of sickness and many deaths among them during the last year. This arises from the fact that they have not become acclimated, and are to a great extent compelled to live in teepees, the cloth of which has become so rotten from long wear and the effects of the weather as to be no longer capable of keeping out the rain, by which they were soaked during the last spring. The tribe, unless something is done for them, will soon become extinct.

Thomas J. Jordan
Oakland Agent
September 6, 1881

They are extremely anxious to return to their own country. They regard themselves as exiles. The climate does not seem to agree with them; many of them have died; and there is a tinge of melancholy in their bearing and conversation that is truly pathetic.

John W. Scott
Oakland Agent
August 15, 1884



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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