Nez Perce


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Niimíipu, Nuumiipuutimt

100 (1997 H. Aoki), decreasing. Spoken fluently only by a handful of elders on Nez Perce and Colville Reservations. 30–40 semispeakers, mostly in Idaho (Golla 2007). Ethnic population: 610 (2000 census).


Idaho: Kamiah and Lapwai on Nez Perce Reservation; Washington: east on Colville Reservation (Upriver dialect). Oregon: Umatilla Reservation (Downriver dialect).

Language Status

8a (Moribund). Language of registered tribe: Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Nez Perce Tribe.


Downriver Nez Perce, Upriver Nez Perce.

Language Use

Shifting to English [eng]. Older adults only.

Language Development

A class in Nez Perce is taught on Umatilla Reservation. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 1845–1876. Conversational Nez Perce taught in Nespelem, Washington. There is a formal program of Nez Perce language instruction at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho as well as an independent program run by the tribe itself on the Idaho reservation, in Lapwai, Kamiah, and Orofino, Idaho.


Latin script [Latn].

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