Welcome - Ta'c Haláxp
"Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above."
lthough the words of this hymn (#342 in their Presbyterian hymnal) were familiar to Kate and Sue McBeth missionary teachers to the Nez Percé during the last quarter of the 19th century they did not necessarily reflect their sentiments. The sisters engaged in bitter feuds with each other, federal agents appointed to supervise the reservation, and religious factions within the Nez Percé tribe.
Despite their contentious struggles, Sue McBeth, a dedicated scholar and linguist, established a successful theological seminary for Nez Percé men, collected and organized a lengthy Nez Percé/English dictionary, and wrote numerous journal articles about her experiences. Her younger sister, Kate, provided literacy education for Nez Percé women, instituted and directed the Sabbath School and Mission Society, taught Euroamerican domestic skills and, following the death of Sue in 1893, assumed responsibility for training Native American ministers.
This website examines the interaction between church (focusing on the McBeth sisters) and state (federal agents) and Nez Percé people during the late 19th century. People introduces the principal participants in the McBeth story. Personal Documents provides full text letters, diary and journal entries. Letters about the sisters written by ministers or federal agents offer a perspective on the activities and agendas of the McBeths'. Government Documents presents the history of federal interaction with the Nez Percé people through full text treaties, commission and agency reports, and legislative actions, and substantial exerpts from a history written by noted author Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
Maps features historic cartography from the U.S. Serial Set, the U.S. Army (drawn during the 1877 Nez Percé War), an 1890 atlas, and Sue McBeth's map of Christian homes on the Nez Percé reservation. Images includes photographs and illustrations. Late 19th century Idaho is presented through the work of contemporary photographers. Photographs also show us the McBeths, their friends and "enemies." Selected Nez Percé legends, recorded in Kate McBeth's journal, are a given modern interpretation by Website illustrator Keith TwoHatchet. Website Information presents technical information, website personnel, and acknowledges the contributions and support from many individuals and institutions.
It is the policy of this website to refrain from interpretive comment. Website guests must draw their own conclusions about the people and events. However, we urge viewers to consider the tone and content of the personal and government documents. The personalities and motivations of their authors are accessible. It is important to note that this site is limited to material representing an Euroamerican point of view. The Nez Percé interpretation of the missionary period must come from Nez Percé people.
Kate and Sue McBeth, Missionary Teachers to the Nez Percé © University of Idaho Library 1999. Last updated April 24, 2000. email comments and suggestions to webmaint