Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

June 17, 1877 Battle of White Bird Canyon

This battle occurred up in northern Idaho near present day Grangeville, Idaho, between Ojibway Soldiers and American Soldiers. After American Soldiers brought most of Montana under their control during early 1877, Anishinabe ogimak knew from prophecy that they had to flee from whites. They organized an exodus and commenced it in spring of 1877. Battle of White Bird Canyon was a part of Mullan Road War. A list of Mullan Road War battles is above. At first, a few groups of Anishinabek left Montana's plains and joined with many other Anishinabek living in Montana's mountain valleys. Most probably followed an ancient Anishinabe road (it is known as Mullan Road) to where Missoula, Montana is, then crossed Lolo Pass into Idaho, then Washington. Others, however, kept their exodus heading towards Dillon, Montana and crossed over to Idaho. From there, they either followed Snake River or Salmon River. Although Salmon River was extremely dangerous to trek up, many an Anishinabe chose to flee up that river to reach northern Idaho, then Washington.

On Sunday June 17, 1877 American Soldiers learned that a large number of fleeing Ojibways were approaching Grangeville, Idaho, from Salmon River. They sent in 106 soldiers led by Captain David Perry to attempt to halt their exodus but failed. In a battle that followed, Anishinabe Soldiers routed their white enemies and forced their way out of very narrow Salmon River Valley and continued their exodus into Washington, following Columbia River. Either that or they in fact fled to Montana to try and reach Canada. However, Canada was closer at Grangeville, Idaho. Or white historians were correct and American Soldiers were forcing Ojibways who continued to live within thir original Nez Perce Reservation, to relocate to a much smaller Nez Perce Reservation. American casualties were 34 killed and 4 wounded. Anishinabe casualties were 3 wounded. Ojibway casualties were actually much higher.

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