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Idaho State Parks

USA Parks
North-Central Region
Nez Perce National Historic Park - Spalding Area
Nez Perce National Historic Park - Spalding Area Historic Grave Stone © Timothy Eberly
Historic grave site at the Nez Perce Park
Mountain Bluebird © stateparks.com
Mountain Bluebird
For thousands of years the valleys, prairies, mountains, and plateaus of the inland northwest have been home to the Nimiipuu or Nez Perce people. Explore these places. Learn their stories. Treat them with care.

The 38 sites of Nez Perce National Historical Park are scattered across the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana and have been designated to commemorate the stories and history of the Nimiipuu and their interaction with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, soldiers, settlers, gold miners, and farmers who moved through or into the area.

Nature Programs
Tipi Pitching/Traditional Homes

Grade: 4th gradeTime length: 30 to 40 minutes

In this hands-on program each student has a job in the construction of a ten-foot Nez Perce tipi. They learn the importance of how and why tipis were constructed and used, the materials used to make traditional homes, how that changed over time, and how traditional homes are used today. Each student also has the experience of going inside the tipi. Students examine and discuss photographs of a traditional Nez Perce home, longhouse, tule mat tipi, buffalo hide tipi, and a contemporary Nez Perce family?s home.

Idaho Curriculum Standards

A Child?s Life

Grade: 4th gradeTime length: 30 to 45 minutes

Using traditional items in the museum?s exhibit cases, students learn what life was like for a Nez Perce child in the past. Discussions include children?s roles, what they learned, who taught them, and information on the structure of the family, village and band. Students will see and touch a variety of replica items that illustrate the topics. Nez Perce stories, an ancient teaching tool, will be included. Discussions about contemporary Nez Perce children today are woven throughout the program to illustrate how traditions are carried on in a modern world.

Seasonal Cycle/Memory String

Grade: 4 gradeTime length: 30 to 45 minutes

The Nez Perce traditionally traveled with the seasons, from their winter homes in the deep river valleys, to the higher meadows and mountains in the summer and fall, returning to the valleys again for the winter. In this hands-on program students learn about the significant events and activities occurring during each season and will see and hold some of the tools associated with these seasonal activities. The Nez Perce people used a variety of ways to remember special events and people in their lives. Students will discuss how people keep track of memories today and in the past and will make a ?memory string? of their own special memories to take home.

Language Arts709.01b: Listening ? Listening for information and understanding ? Listen to gain enrichment and information about various cultures.

Science588.05a: Unifying Concepts of Science ? Understanding concepts of form and function ? Discover the relationships between shape and use.594.01a: Earth and Space Systems ? Understand scientific theories of origins and changes in the earth and universe ? Explore the length of a day, seasons, phases of the moon, and eclipses.595.01b: Technology ? Understanding the relationship between science and technology ? Recognize that people have invented tools for everyday life.

Social Studies440.01a: Economic Fundamentals ? Understand basic economic principles ? Explain how Native Americans and early settlers met their basic needs.

Movie ? Nez Perce: Portrait of a People

This Twenty-three minute movie is a broad overview that depicts the history of the Nez Perce beginning with oral traditions and continuing through the present. The 1805 meeting with the Lewis and Clark expedition, the arrival of Christian missionaries, the invasion of their homeland by white settlers, the discovery of gold on the reservation and the War of 1877 are all covered. The film can be shown in the classroom as a pre-site activity.
Area Attractions

Big Hole National Battlefield, 300 miles.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 110 miles.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, 195 miles.

Glacier National Park, 360 miles.

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, 288 miles.

Yellowstone National Park, 520 miles.

Other Attractions

Hellsgate State Park, 208-799-5015, 15 miles.

Clearwater National Forest, 208-476-4541, 35 miles.

Nez Perce National Forest, 208-983-1950, 61 miles.

Winchester Lake State Park, 208-924-7563, 24 miles.

Dworshak State Park, 208-476-5994, 35 miles.

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Idaho State Parks