Gem State Roundup

Nez Perce Tribe, Forest Service officials announce traditional place name ceremony 

By: - June 24, 2022 4:00 am
Lochsa River Corridor on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

The Lochsa River Corridor on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. (Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)

Officials from the Nez Perce Tribe and Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are inviting the public to a traditional place name and Camas in Bloom ceremony on Saturday at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

Tribal leaders and U.S. Forest Service officials are partnering through the Place Name Initiative to establish signs and interpretation of traditional Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) names for significant sites located between Lewiston and Lolo Pass. The sites included in the traditional place name program include geological features, historic landmarks, winter village sites and gathering areas, according to a press release from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. 

The ceremony runs from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Packer Meadow (Wispin’íitpe), which is located west of the Lolo Pass Visitor Center, on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests off of U.S. Highway 12 at the Idaho/Montana state line. Wispin’íitpe is a traditional campsite the Nimiipuu used for digging camas root.

The ceremony is free and will feature a horse parade, the Nez Perce Appaloosa Horse Club Dancers, the Drum Color Guard and remarks from Tribal and forest service leaders, including Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chairman Samuel N. Penney.

“We are pleased to work in partnership with the Forest Service to complete the place name project and make this important transition a reality,” Penney said in a written statement. “Our place names have been in our stories and history since before I can remember. It is exciting to see these names reach the public and provide the same representation they always have for the Nimiipuu.”

Guests are allowed to bring their own chairs, umbrellas, water and sunscreen to Saturday’s event to prepare for hot, sunny weather. 


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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.