‘Coming Home to Nez Perce Country’ Book Review


Coming House to Nez Perce Nation: The Nimíipuu Marketing campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage, by Trevor J. Bond, Washington State College Press, Pullman, 2021, $24.95

When missionary Henry Spalding settled with spouse Eliza among the many Nez Perces, or Nimíipuu (“the folks”), on the Columbia Plateau (close to present-day Lewiston, Idaho) in 1836, he believed it his divinely appointed obligation to not solely convert the “heathens” to Christianity but in addition encourage them to embrace sedentary farming and abandon each vestige of their historically nomadic tradition. Over the course of his keep by 1847 Spalding amassed a large trove of saddles, clothes and different artifacts, which he shipped east to buddy and supporter Dr. Dudley Allen in Ohio. The artifacts went into storage at Oberlin School, the place they could go on show as quaint remnants of a vanished tradition whose practitioners had been remade as “good Indians” by the march of American progress and Manifest Future.

Over the subsequent century and a half the Nez Perces confronted conflict and betrayal by the hands of the soyapo (whites), notably within the Nez Perce Warfare of 1877, however their tradition survived. Furthermore, they made it clear that their conversion to Christianity and the retention of their traditions weren’t mutually unique. Equally essential, they resolved to reclaim the culturally integral artifacts collectors like Spalding had gathered.

In Coming House to Nez Perce Nation writer Trevor Bond—co-director of the Middle for Digital Scholarship and Curation and affiliate dean for digital initiatives and particular collections on the Washington State College Libraries—tracks one of many longest campaigns launched by American Indians, one involving not warriors and horse troopers, however historians, legal professionals, park officers, anthropologists and all method of different specialists in a quest to rediscover and settle the last word destiny of the Spalding-Allen Assortment. Although in time the attitudes of most Individuals turned within the Nimíipuu’s favor, by 1992 it had approached a curious climax. As Richard Ellenwood of the Nez Perce Heritage Quest Alliance described the supply because it then stood: “We’ve to purchase our land again. Now we’ve got to purchase our regalia again.” Undaunted, the NPHQA launched a fund-raising marketing campaign that met the appraised worth of $608,100 inside six months and efficiently gained custodianship of the tribe’s artifacts. “This belongs to us,” mentioned Ellenwood “and it belongs to the way forward for our grandchildren.”

Bond presents the a number of facets of this uncommon “tradition conflict” together with a hoard of photographs exhibiting and describing the artifacts in query. Some might discover the e-book a mite on the “Delicate West” aspect, however these with an curiosity within the continuity of American Indian heritage might discover Coming House to Nez Perce Nation an intriguing drama.

—Jon Guttman

The Nimíipuu Marketing campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage

By Trevor J. Bond

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