Cultural History Phases
CAMAS PRAIRIE PHASE
This cultural phase is characterized by the introduction of the horse and later, the first Euro-American contact. Probably by 1560 the Indians obtained horses from the Spanish in the southern United States. The horse was then gradually dispersed northward to other groups, including the Nez Perce (about A.D. 1700). The Nez Perce Indians lived in this area for many years and the introduction of the horse had a significant impact on their lives. With the horse the Nez Perce became a much more mobile group. They had always had extensive trade networks, but the time involved in traveling from one place to another was greatly reduced with the addition of the horse, allowing them travel over much greater distances. Trips as far as Oregon and Montana were common.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the region in 1805. This was the first significant contact between Euro-Americans and the Nez Perce people. Soon after, Euro-Americans arrived in increasing numbers, resulting in more trade goods such as metal and beads being used by the Nez Perce. The influence of the Euro-Americans became greater through the mid-1800s until the Native Americans were relegated to the reservation.
|Rock art is a prehistoric site that could have spanned several prehistoric phases of the area's culture history. It is therefore considered separate from the previously outlined prehistoric phases. There are two kinds of rock art; petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs refer to designs or figures that have been carved into the surface of the rock. No petroglyphs have been recorded along the Lower Salmon River. Pictographs are designs or figures that have been painted on the surface of the rock with variously colored pigments. The purpose of many of the pictographs is unknown but may represent events, trail markers, messages to others, etc.|
Pictographs are usually red, a color which comes from ochre (iron oxide). Ochre was ground and mixed with an oil or grease. The mixture was then added to resin from pine or fir trees and applied to the rock, forming a glaze. Sometimes a mixture of water and coloring material was directly applied to the rock. This oxidized and penetrated into the rock, acting like a stain.