dT, it's interesting that you mention the Crows in your earlier post, as Looking Glass, the leader of the Alpowai band of Nimiipuu (Nez Perces), was one of the key trading partners with and friends to the Mountain Crows, and he regularly camped with them for long spells. His band also more than once fought alongside the Mountain Crows against Lakota raiders in the 1860s and '70s.
Maybe that's it, cinema. I have to admit that I've searched through my books and articles and haven't been able to find the reference. I would suspect that on seeing Looking Glass' raised head, quite a few people shot at it and working out who hit it may be difficult!
carlo said ... "dT, it's interesting that you mention the Crows in your earlier post, as Looking Glass, the leader of the Alpowai band of Nimiipuu (Nez Perces), was one of the key trading partners with and friends to the Mountain Crows, and he regularly camped with them for long spells. His band also more than once fought alongside the Mountain Crows against Lakota raiders in the 1860s and '70s."
From what I understand, yes Looking Glass did know the Crows. And because of his trading, he knew routes to the east through the Bitterroot Mountains. So he chose this path for the escape of all the Nez Perce and he did remarkably well with the plan. As you said, the Nez Perce and the Crows were fighting the Dakotas, so they had an alliance. So I think Looking Glass must have felt badly let down when the Crows refused him refuge at a critical time during his escape from the US Cavalry. I don't know why this happened - but maybe there had been a change in leadership for the Crows and so their thinking was different.
It would be easy for us to look back and make a judgment against the Crows. But I think it would be too much judgment to rush into such a decision. we cannot guess exactly what was on their minds back then, or the difficulties that the Crows were facing themselves. I think very clearly that the Crows were worried that if they provided help to the Nez Perce, that their own land would be taken away. Perhaps they were even threatened in this way by someone representing (or claiming to represent) the US Government. In addition, the Crows were aware of a prophecy amongst their own people that the white man would be the winner of this struggle on the Great Plains, and therefore they did not follow the same policy of conflict as other tribes. Finally, as I said earlier - perhaps the Crow chiefs who knew Looking Glass well had since become old, and younger men were now making the decisions.
If Looking Glass had been making an escape with just the Nez Perce warriors, then I think they would have been able to handle this disappointment at the Crow Lands and still make Canada. If their band had consisted of just warriors - they would have had the strength and endurance to get through the ordeal. But to make such a long journey with all the Nez Perce people, including women and children, was an incredibly difficult task. They were coming under attack, forced to be on the run, and forced to gather whatever food could be found by the warriors - all while making an escape journey well over 1,000 miles. It was a tremendously difficult thing to try and accomplish. That is why I am saying that Looking Glass did SO WELL, even though he eventually was killed by the Cavalry. His accomplishments and courage were outstanding!!!
The Nez Perce had never been friends of the Lakota (Sioux). In fact, in the alliance of nations on the plains, the Nez Perce were friends of the Crows who were enemies of the Lakota. Doubtless, in aiding their friends the Crows more than one Nez Perce warrior had killed or been killed by a Lakota warrior. Upon their arrival, then, the Nez Perce were very unsure of the welcome they would receive from the Lakota...
White Bird did not know whether or not it would be safe for him to go to Sitting Buil's camp, but after a consultation with his followers they came to the conclusion they might as well be killed by Indian enemies as by the whites. Coming to a half-breed [Metis] camp near Milk River, they hired one of the party to guide them to Sitting Bull. As they were proceeding toward the Sioux camp they came upon an Indian skinning a buffalo. The hunter appeared rather shy, but after considerable parley told White Bird that he was a Sioux and that he had come from Sitting Bull's camp. White Bird told him to go to Sitting Bull and tell him the Nez Perces were anxious to see him; that they were refugees, fleeing for protection from the U.S. troops. The buffalo hunter started on his mission and the Nez Perces camp moved slowly in the direction he had gone. After marching a few miles, they discovered a large body of mounted Indians coming toward them. They numbered nearly 3,000 warriors and were coming at full speed. A short distance in advance of the main body rode an Indian warrior, on a magnificent war horse. When within hailing distance of the Nez Perces the command halted. The warrior in advance asked White Bird, by signs, to what tribe he belonged. White Bird made answer, saying he was a Nez Perces. The other then said.
"I am Sitting Bull, and these,' pointing to his followers, "are my warriors.' Sitting Bull then came up and shook hands with White Bird and his warriors. After bidding them welcome, he said: "I am very sorry indeed that your skin is like mine, that your hair is like mine, and that every one around you is pure red man like myself. We, too, have lost our country by falsehood and theft.'
Although the Indians were now north of the line ( borderline ), they expected to be followed and attacked by US. soldiers. The Sioux had not thus far been attacked, but they did not know now that so many soldiers were near them they would follow the Indians and give them battle. Sitting Bull, after hearing of the Bear Paw fight, said: "if I had known you were surrounded by soldiers at Bear Paw Mountains, I certainly would have helped you. But now you are here, and as long as you are with me I will not allow the Americans to take even a child from you without fighting for it.' Sitting Bull received a present of seven horses from White Bird. The Nez Perces were welcomed in the Sioux camp and received from Sitting Bull and his followers nothing but the kindest of treatment.
„ They ( Lakota ) gave me everything I asked, just as if I were one of their children.“ Yellow Wolf ( Nez Perce )
cinemo - VERY interesting story which I have never seen before. it goes to show how much things were changing in that time. it would be good to know what happened next. but apparently the decision was made for the Nez Perce to journey north and not stay any longer with the Crows or Lakotas. it also follows that the "standard information" that the Nez Perce were simply shunned, or turned down, by the Crows is probably not exactly right either. More likely all the tribes on the Great Plains were re-thinking their strategy and how best to deal with the white invasion. It was a time of confusion.