Poker Joe

Somewhere a mile or two south of Corvallis lived a band of Nez Perce. Eagle From the Light, who had signed the 1855 Treaty, had formerly been chief of this band. Originally from the Salmon River country, he had become so disgusted with conditions in Idaho that he had moved his band here to the Bitterroot Valley. Although he and several others chose not to go with the five nontreaty bands, some families were swept along on the Nez Perce tide.

The most notable of these Bitterroot Nez Perce was Poker Joe, sometimes called Lean, Elk or Chief Hototo, a subchief of mixed blood. After the Battle of the Big Hole, leadership of the Nez Perce flight was transferred from Looking Glass to Poker Joe, who kept his People ahead of the army for the next seven weeks, over the course of seven hundred miles. The addition of Looking Glass to the nontreaty bands in early July had been fortuitous. He had the experience to guide his People to buffalo country. The unexpected addition of Poker Joe, who turned out to be an excellent strategist, was a similarly fortunate occurrence.

The Nez Perces started from Idaho with 77 lodges. They got 12 more lodges in Bitter Root valley, taking them by force, making 89 lodges in all.

Duncan McDonald

Duncan McDonald was hired by the Deer Lodge newspaper to write a series of articles about the Nez Perce War.

Between 750 and 800 Nez Perce were now on the move. Since a lodge or tepee usually housed an extended family of between eight and twelve persons, estimates of the total number of Nez Perce on the flight range from 750 to 900.



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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