Summary from the Foundation Workshop

Missoula, Montana, August 7-8-9, 1997
by Dan Gard, Past Treasurer

    The Nez Perce National Historic Trail Foundation,the Forest Service, 
and Nez Perce National Historical Park joined in presenting a three-day 
series of meetings and workshops August 7-8-9 in Missoula. 
    Federal, State and Tribal officials and the general public met to enhance
awareness, appreciation and understanding of the unique historical and cultural
significance of the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historical Trail (NPNHT).
    Nez Perce Elder Horace Axwell opened the three-day meeting with a
traditional Native American prayer and tribal representatives welcomed those
attending the conference. 
    Special guests and speakers included Northern Regional Forester Hal
Salwasser; Frank Walker, superintendent of the Nez Perce National Historical
Park; Missoula Mayor Mike Kadas; Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Sam  Penny; Joanne
Leith of the Joseph Band Council; Umatilla Tribal Council Chairman Antone
Minthorn;  Steve Russell, president of the NPNHT Foundation; Steve Elkinton,
National Trails System; Gary Werner, Partnership for the National Trails; and
 Pat Williams, University of  Montana professor and former Montana congressman. 
    The workshops provided information on topics ranging from creation of local
trail chapters to events and activities associated with the upcoming Lewis &
Clark Bicentennial. Panelists provided a wide range of expertise and
information on a variety of topics about the Nez Perce people, their history
and culture, and associated elements of western history. 
    Conference attendees visited local historic sites associated with the Nez
 Perce trek of 1877, including Howard Creek, Fort Fizzle, For Owen, and St.
 Mary's Mission.
    Andy Kulla, resource forester, Lolo National Forest, discussed
historical interpretation at Fort Fizzle, including the reconstructed
brestworks of the type used by the Army in the unsuccessful attempt to halt the
Nez Perce travels down Lolo Creek. Attendees walked a portion of the Lolo Trail
the Nez Perce followed as they descended Lolo Pass on their way to the
Bitterroot Valley. Len McCann, dressed in cavalry regalia of the 1870s,
 explained the life of a 19th century soldier in the American West.
    After a stop at Fort Owen the group visisted St.Mary's Mission in
Stevensville, where Lucylle Evans and her staff conducted tours of the
site and served a picnic dinner. 
    Foundation members created a 12-member Board of Directors and elected
new officers: Carla HighEagle, president (Lapwai, ID); Jo Hallem, vice president
 (Sublimity, OR); Brian McCormack, secretary (Lapwai, ID); and B.J. Hultz,
 treasurer (West Yellowstone, MT). 
    Harry Fritz, University of Montana history professor and former Foundation
president, conducted a fund-raising raffle and auction at the Foundation
banquet. Awards were presented honoring those who have worked on behalf of the
 NPNHT. Cheryl Wilfong, author of "Following the Nez Perce Trail", delivered the
 keynote address. 
    On the closing day, the attendees participated in commemoration activities
 at the Big Hole Battlefield, marking the 120th anniversary of the Battle of the
 Big Hole.

Dan Gard
R1 Archives
Project Asst-NPNHT