As cannon scattered shot from bursting shells, people held buffalo hides over themselves. — wewetatomay, wife of 'álok'at
As the initial attack turned into a six-day siege, the army began bombarding the Nez Perce camp with artillery. These open plains offered little natural protection. Here in this coulee, women and children used knives, pots, pans, and digging sticks to try to dig shallow caves in the hillside. Rain turned to snow, and the ground froze. By themselves, the Nez Perce warriors might have fought their way out. With families to protect, they were forced to make other decisions.
The battlefield is a cemetery for the men, women, and children killed here and should be accorded the respect of a sacred burial ground.