Horace Axtell Speaks of Wolves and Other Things





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Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011

Horace Axtell, 86 year old Nez Perce elder, WWII veteran of the Pacific Theatre, and leader in the traditional Seven Drum religion, speaks about his culture and history. (Horace was one of the first expeditionary troops on the ground in Nagasaki Japan after the nuclear bombings, and ended up contracting a skin disease as a result of his exposure to radiation.)

He tells stories told to him by his grandmother who was born in Wallowa country in 1871, 6 years before General Howard forced Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce out of the Wallowa. He shares the sacred relationship and history of wolves with the Nez Perce in Wallowa country as well as other areas inhabited by the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce). Wolves were regarded as a brother and one of the most sacred animals by the Nimiipuu, who always held them in honor and with a good feeling. He also tells a funny legend of Coyote, and other anecdotal Nimiipuu stories. Horace talks of how he had conversations out loud with his grandmother and would answer for her while serving his years in WWII, so as not to forget his language. Unfortunately, (and perhaps sadly ironically), as he speaks of the struggles of his people to maintain their language, his quiet voice begins to be drowned out by loud country western music at the rodeo grounds next door as participants warm up for the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo.

I apologize for the poor production quality and audio quality of the video. There are some distracting sounds in the background. This was simply recorded for posterity. While he may be hard to hear in some spots, Horace is a man worth listening closely to.



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