7 Nez Perce Native Americans and the Incredible Appaloosa

Nez Perce and the Appaloosa

Marco Seiferle-Valencia

Title: “Nez Perce Indians, mounted on Appaloosa horse. Woman and child in cradleboard.”

Date created: 1970



Take a few minutes to just look at the image above.


What do you see in the image?

What questions do you have about what you see?

How does this connect to things you already know or are learning about?

Read the article that accompanied the image to learn more…

Source: https://www.lib.uidaho.edu/digital/postcards/items/nwpostcards749.html

Context Given: “Description: Postcard of a woman and child on horseback. | Full blood Nez Perce Indians mounted on an Appaloosa horse, with authentic trappings of late era.”

This item comes from a postcard collection which has the following description:

“A digital collection of over 800 historical Northwest postcards from the historical photograph collections of the University of Idaho Library’s Special Collections & Archives. The postcards range in date from the 1890s to the 1980s.”

Some other words for expanded context…

Whose stories are included here?

Who is telling the story?

Expanded Context:

This postcard shows a Nez Perce woman and her child on an Appaloosa Horse. Everyone shown, including the horse, wears full regalia, which includes many culturally significant designs, motifs, and patterns. The woman shown wears a traditional Nez Perce basket hat, which is a signature style of woven hat made by the Nez Perce, as well as the other Columbia Plateau Tribes. The baby is shown swaddled in a traditional style baby board, with intricate beadwork and detailing on the headboard.

Expanding the context for this item could involve further research on several different themes and topics. For instance: discussing contemporary Nez Perce culture and presence, both how it is has changed and remained remarkably consistent, learning more about Nez Perce history from a Nez Perce perspective, or researching the remarkable story of the cultural and historical preservation of the Appaloosa horse breed, which is a breed of horse originated and maintained by the Nez Perce since Spanish colonization.

One important note is that many novice learners still conceptualize Indigenous presence as a kind of “pan-Indian” identity that creates a non-existent, culturally monolithic Native. This image provides a great entry point to conversations that center the unique cultural practices, traditions, and languages, of the over 500 federally recognized tribes in the United States, especially as Nez Perce imagery has been often appropriated to substitute as “generic” Indian.

Did you know that the name Appaloosa derives from the Palouse River? Source:


Additional Sources:


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Nez Perce Native Americans and the Incredible Appaloosa Copyright © 2023 by Marco Seiferle-Valencia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.