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Moccasins associated with Peo Peo T´olikt (Bird Alighting, Nimi´ipuu (Nez Perce) b.?–1935)
ca. 1880
Deer hide, glass beads, cotton thread
27 x 12 x 8 cm
Purchased from the Mabton Museum shop

“After the soldiers left, we returned to our ruined homes. Several teepees had been burned or otherwise ruined. Much had been carried away and many objects destroyed or badly damaged. Brass buckets always carefully kept by the women, lay battered, smashed…. Growing gardens trampled and destroyed. Nearly all our horses were taken and every hoof of cattle driven away.”
—Peo Peo T´olikt, the attack on the camp at Clear Creek

Peo Peo T´olikt was a grandson of Ni Mii Puu leader Xa xac ilpilp (Red Grizzly Bear), who met and counseled explorers Lewis and Clark in 1805 and 1806. Shortly after the outbreak of the 1877 war with the United States, Peo Peo T´olikt was camped at Clear Creek near Kooskia, Idaho. Chief Looking Glass had declared that he wanted peace and had moved his band to Clear Creek on the Lapwai Reservation. Although the camp raised a white flag, on July 1 it was attacked and destroyed by angry U.S. soldiers and volunteer militiamen.

The band joined the fight at the Clearwater River and continued on the war trail all the way to Canada, covering nearly 1,300 miles in four months. Peo Peo T´olikt was involved in heavy, sometimes hand-to-hand, fighting. He also served as an outrider to protect the hard-traveling Nez Perce. He lost a wife and young son in the war, but his exploits were many, among them capturing the cannon and 2,000 rounds of cartridges at Big Hole, stealing Gen. Oliver Howard’s mules and horses at Camas Meadows, and protecting the camp at Bear Paw.

In June 1878, after staying with the Sioux of Chief Sitting Bull, a few Nez Perce decided to return to the United States. They reached the Lapwai Indian Agency, where some were allowed to remain. Others were sent to the Oklahoma Territory. Peo Peo ’ was eventually allotted land on the reservation. He passed away in 1935 on his ranch near Lenore, Idaho.

These moccasins are beaded with seed beads of the late 1800s, which the Ni Mii Puu people readily adopted and used in the floral and geometric designs.

—Allen Pinkham, Sr. (Ni Mii Puu)
Tribal elder, former chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee

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