History of White Bird

White Bird Book One: Among the Nez Perce

This upcoming epic novel is a work of historical fiction. The history behind “White Bird” is well documented.
I am not sure how many followers are out there who know of the Battle of White Bird (1877). Many may remember something about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Wallowa Tribe. The American government signed a treaty with the people in the 1850’s allotting the entire region to them. In 1876 the new treaty displaced many tribes from their ancestral homes, requiring them to move onto a reservation that decreased in size by 90%. The non-treaty tribes, with all the women, children and elderly gathered at the Salmon River Canyon in preparation for their freedom run to the Canada’s. Chief White Bird led the Salmon River Nez Perce who settled the area thousands of years in the past. 
            The U S military was charged to force them onto the new reservation, and the battle that resulted was a disaster for the army. Outnumbered, the Nez Perce suffered zero casualties while inflicting over 25 on the military. It was not a war from the point of view of the people. They simply needed to buy time to get their entire families across the river so they could begin their march to freedom. Although Chief White Bird made it to safety in Canada with around 200 of his people, many would later return, hoping to settle back in their ancient home. Chief White Bird never returned. 
            The town of White Bird is located near the original settlement and is named after the now famous leader. US Hwy 95 rises out of the canyon on what, until 1975 was a very serpentine road that could be very hazardous in inclement weather. This is the White Bird Pass of my boyhood. 
            Old Grandfather is a fictional character. He was a boy of about 8 years and present at the White Bird battle. He is a grand nephew of Chief White Bird and his granddaughter, who was a believer in the ancient dreaming way of the people, died giving birth to Daniel. on White Bird Pass. Chief White Bird’s bloodline is lost to history, so I recreated a fictional bloodline for my novel.
            Grandfather is very old and very wealthy, while being active in the politics of the people. He took the name of Tom Lincoln upon returning to America soon after the turn of the 20thcentury, though those who know him respect him as a shaman of his people.