Lewis and Clark knew the area as Wollah Wollah in 1805. It is located near the Columbia River in the southeast area of present day Washington State close to the Oregon border. Walla Walla's central location along the Columbia River trade routes and inland Native roadways and trials to the East, made it a very important place for trade and interaction. As a result, Fort Nez Perce (later named Fort Walla Walla), Fort Steptoe, and the Whitman Mission further solidified Walla Walla's prominent place in the Northwest's Trade Highway concept.
The Nez Perce and Cayuse
The Nez Perce mainly made their homes in the high country. For this reason the Nez Perce preferred the mountainous areas along high rivers and valleys in modern day Idaho, eastern Oregon and Washington, and western Montana. The Cayuse, on the other hand, though they frequently intermarried with the Nez Perce, preferred the lowland river locations and the associated lifestyle rather than the mountain regions of their direct neighbors.
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Buan, Carolyn M.; Lewis, Richard, eds. The First Oregonians: An illustrated Collection of Essays on Traditional Lifeways, Federal-Indian Relations, and the State's Native People Today. Portland, OR: Oregon Council for the Humanities; 1991.
Clark, Ella C. Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press; 1966.
Dwyer, Helen, and Mary A. Stout. Nez Perce History and Culture. New York : Gareth Stevens Pub., 2012.
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Wilfong, Cheryl. Following the Nez Perce Trail : A Guide to the Nee-Me-Poo National Historic Trail with Eyewitness Accounts. Oregon State University Press, c1990.
by V. Keven Shipman