Kate and Sue McBeth, Missionary Teachers to the Nez Perce
(Note: Indian Com. Report refers to the
Board of Indian Commissioners Report; Ponca and Colville Agency
refer to the Joseph Band of the Nez Perce; Ind. Affairs refers to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Report.)
Illustration from: Indian Sign Language and the Invention of Mr. Lewis F. Hadley, as Applied to the Speedy Christian Civilization and Education of the the Wild Adult Indians by Juliet L. Axtell. (Chicago: Western Label Company, Printers, 1891)
The Nez Perce people have a long history of missionary contact, beginning in 1836 when Rev. Henry H. Spalding and his wife, Eliza. established their mission. The Peace Policy instituted by President U. S. Grant strengthened the ties to the Presbyterians by allowing the American Board of Foreign Missions to nominate the agents to serve on the reservation. In 1873, Sue McBeth arrived, followed by her sisters Kate in 1879, and reservation life became inextricably intertwined with their missionary zeal.