The Nez Perce lived in semi-subterranean pit houses covered with tree branches and dirt. When they increased contact with tribes of the Pacific Coast and the Great Plains, they adopted new forms of housing, such as pit tepees and hide-covered tepees.
The Nez Perce tribe occupied southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon and north-central Colorado. They lived in bands consisting of families and kinship groups. Each band had a headman who represented the rest of the band. They were able to raise large herds of horses because of their skills. Horses helped them change their lifestyle, allowing them to engage in trade with neighboring tribes. They helped the Meriwether Lewis and William Clark expedition and kept them from starving.