Two years of research went into the creation of this blanket. This included visiting all of the historical Battle areas, Old Chief Joseph's grave site at Wallowa Lake, Oregon, and Chief Joseph's grave in Nespelem, Washington. Heartfelt conversations with the Nez Perce Elders have led to the artwork depicted on this blanket. It hopes to bring indelible honor to the ancestors of the noble, proud, kindhearted, horse people of the Nez Perce.
The researcher was witness to two spiritual revelations on his journey:
THE BIG HOLE BATTLEFIELD SKELETON TEEPEES
"Two Ravens were circling over Chief Joseph's Tee Pee when I reached the clearing. The Raven speaks of messages from the Spirit Realm. Raven teaches how to take that which is unformed and give it to the form you desire to honor the Ancestors."
THE BEAR PAW BATTLEFIELD
"Three huge Mule Deer bucks appeared when I was standing next to the Nez Perce Rifle Pits. Deer exudes gentle love. A strong, healthy connection to the Spiritual Realm. Soon after, a hawk circled 8 feet over my head. Through its flight, it communicates with humans through the Great Creator's Spirit."
About the design-
The first order to the Pendleotn Mills in Pendleton, Oregon in 1897 for 1000 blankets came from the Nez Perce. The pattern that appears on the top and bottom of the blanket is quite possibly one of the earliest blankets ordered by the Tribe. The disctinct floral pattern depicts the Camas flower. The root of the Camas was a staple food for the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce).
KEY COLORS FROM THE NEZ PERCE
Pink to represent salmon for sustenance. Two tones of blue for the sky and water.
THE THREE FIGURES
On the left is War Chief Looking Glass on an Appaloosa (The Nez Perce interbred horses and the characteristic spots are emblematic of the breed). In the middle is Chief Joseph. His Native name was Thunder Rolling Over the Mountains. Thus, he is placed under the thunder and lightning over the Wallowas. He is on a horse with The Maker's hand print on the haunches. The Elders say that the first horses interbred by the Nez Perce had that hand print - a symbol of The Maker's blessing. The third figure is Chief White Bird, also on an Appaloosa horse.
THE SKELETON TEEE PEES
Before dawn on August 9th, 1877, the US Army surprised the Nez Perce, who thought they were safe in Montana. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. A few years after the battle, the US government created a stone monument. The Nez Perce stated that their monument was the Skeleton Tee Pees of the Big Hole Battlefield in honor of the braves, and the women and children that perished that day.
THE BEAR PAW MOUNTAINS
Here is where Chief Joseph finally surrendered and gave his famous speech: "HEAR ME, MY CHIEFS. My heart is tired and I am sick of the killing. From where the sun stands I will fight no more forever." In testament to the compassion of the Nez Perce after all of the strife, a wounded soldier was moaning for water all night. A young Nez Perce brave snuck behind enemy lines and gave him a canteen of water after removing his rifle belt.
This beautiful blanket is a Limited, numbered edition of 1877. 64 x 80 inches. Woven by Pendleton Woolen Mills. 82% wool/18 % cotton. Dry clean only.