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Nez Perce
Expedition Culture Geography People Maps Nature
  Self Determination and Sovereignty
Sovereignty: Underlying Legal Principles
Fisheries Resources Management
Natural Resources Management
Cultural Resource Program
Contemporary Artists: Continuities
Contemporary Artists: Fusions
Language Program and Some Lessons
Horse Program
Acknowledgements and Cultural Property
Cultural Property Rights Agreement

  Native American
  Oral Traditions along the Clearwater and Snake Rivers
Coyote and the Swallowing Monster
Territory of the Nimíipuu
Seasonal Round: Winter into Summer
Seasonal Round: Summer into Winter
Horse in Nimíipuu Culture
Growing Up Nimíipuu: Family and Community Life
Growing Up Nimíipuu: Headmen and Leadership
To Sing and Dance: In the Past
To Sing and Dance: In the Present
Spiritual Life
Traditional Clothing Styles and Appearance
Céexstem: Dice Game

  Smallpox and Disease
Missionaries and Christianity
Fur Trade
Treaties and the Dawes Act
Treaty of 1855
Treaty of 1863
Conflict of 1877


  1. Cedar-bark basket - Ethel Greene
  2. Cornhusk weaving materials and bag - Ethel Greene
  3. Angel Sobotta with the Ben Marrah Dance Company
  4. 'isáaptakay Rawhide Box Container - Archie Lawyer
  5. 'isáaptakay Rawhide Spider Container - Archie Lawyer
  6. Reverse side of the Spider Container
  7. Rawhide Rifle Sheaths - Archie Lawyer
  8. Detail of Rifle Sheath
  9. 'isáaptakay Rawhide Box and Small Parfleches - Archie Lawyer
  10. 'isáaptakay Very Small Rawhide Parfleches
  11. Warbonnet Case - Josiah and D'Lisa Pinkham
  12. Leggings - Nakia Williamson
  13. Beaded Vest - Nakia Williamson
  14. Design Detail of Beaded Vest - Nakia Williamson

For additional discusses on Nimíipuu aesthetic expressions in this module, see Traditional Clothing Styles, Horse in Nimíipuu Culture, To Sing and Dance, Seasonal Round - Winter to Spring, Seasonal Round - Spring to Winter, and Contemporary Artists: Fusions

For more information on the Nez Perce Leepwey Arts Council:

208-843-7410 (fax)

Nez Perce Tribe
PO Box 365
Lapwai, ID 83540

Or the White Eagle's Store:

3405 Highway 12
Orofino, Idaho 83544

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Larry and Pam White Eagle welcome you to their store, which features many contemporary Nez Perce artists.

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Lynn Pinkham discusses the family nature of a beading project and the continuity of a grandmother's beading design in the construction of a pair of lady's leggings used in powwowing and horse parading. Lynn also talks about how leggings are worn by the Nimíipuu. (Interviewed by Ann McCormack, March 2002)

Today's Nimíipuu artists continue the rich legacy of their grandparents and their grandparent's grandparents, relying on designs as ancient as the landscape itself to keep the unique aesthetic expressions of the Nimíipuu alive and vibrant. While some artists find an outlet for their work in sales at local arts stores, such as that successfully operated by the White Eagles (see below), many other Nimíipuu spend enormous energy preparing dance regalia and horse trappings for a son or daughter for use in powwows and parades. It is not unusually to witness a business committee meeting with some of its members engaged in the meeting's deliberation while at the same time working on a piece of beadwork. For these artists the intricately beaded horse martingales and powwow leggings have only priceless family value - no monetary value could ever be assigned them.

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Ethel Greene explains the process of making a cornhusk bag. (Interviewed by Ann McCormack, March 2002)

One of the most successful endeavors to support various artistic expression comes from the Nez Perce Leepwey Arts Council (NPLAC). Its mission is to create a better community through the arts while perpetuating all that is said to be the Nez Perce way. The NPLAC has functioned as an arts council for five years. Before that they were an arts association. We have successfully completed at least six projects annually, including workshops on traditional beading, traditional quill work, leather work, weaving and mono print making, mural painting, and card making, etc. We do not limit ourselves to just visual art but attempt at least one performing arts project annually. As a board we plan and schedule a number of projects, almost one a month during the school term. We are mindful to consider visual and performing traditional and contemporary, Native American and other kinds of presentations to have a sense of balance. We concentrate on quality and excellence in every aspect of our projects.

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Angel Sobotta, Chairperson of the Leepwey Arts Council, discusses the origin and role of the council. (Interviewed by Ann McCormack February 2002)

Many of the NPLAC programs are for school age children but we do offer workshops at the intermediate and highly skilled levels. Our Native American film festival from a couple of years ago featured "Smoke Signals" by Sherman Alexie. That was a big hit and allowed us another way to bring in works by other great talents.

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Josiah Pinkham discusses the use of téhey ("trade cloth") on a beaded hatchet made by Kevin Peters. (Interviewed by Rodney Frey, March 2002)

Our council has a retreat every May to determine the plans for the year to follow. There is a constant awareness to focus on having Nez Perce cultural events that promote interest and pride in our heritage. Because of this, the council has prioritized the old art form of telling Nez Perce legends into making them new again. We are working very hard to give the community a schedule that provides the opportunity for mastery of the arts and have relevance to what they are trying to achieve as artists.

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Archie Lawyer, tribal elder, discusses the use of qílilu (rawhide) in the creation of his 'isáaptakay (parfleche) art. (Interviewed by Ann McCormack February 2002)

As the commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial grows closer, the council is actively engaged in the Nez Perce Arts Initiative. The initiative is a laundry list of deliverables that have the potential to tell the Nez Perce side of the story in an number of mediums; demonstration, literature, art, and even video. These projects are meant to delight and enlighten our viewers. The art council sees the commemoration of the bicentennial as an opportunity to recapture our history from our perspective and then pass it down to the next generation of leaders. We are partnering and collaborating with many other arts organizations and have both lead and associate partners for future regional events.

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Josiah Pinkham discusses the process in making 'isáaptakay containers and their use on horse regalia and for trade. (Interviewed by Rodney Frey, March 2002)

The Nez Perce Leepwey Arts Council is most generously funded by the Nez Perce Tribe, the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Our partners are Students for Success Program, Lapwai Community Services Program, Lapwai Century 21 Community Learning Program and the Lapwai School District.

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Nakia Williamson discusses the beadwork he did for one of his powwow regalia vests. (Interviewed by Ann McCormack February 2002)

Continue your appreciation of Nimíipuu aesthetics by going to Contemporary Artists: Fusions

© Nez Perce Tribe 2002

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