Overview Legend Times Daily Life Transport and Trade Contact and Change All Image Gallery
Bonnet - NEPE 1133
Grizzly Bear Claw Necklace - NEPE 1990 Wrist Ornament - NEPE 1805
The Creator gave us the language. He gave us color of skin. He gave us culture, tradition, and so many other things. The Creator made certain things in certain ways.
Horace Axtell, Nimiipuu Elder
The Nimiipuu, like many Pacific Northwest native peoples, had a close spiritual connection with their environment. Their belief system is based on respect for other beings, and a recognition that humans are a link in the chain that binds together all of creation. The Nimiipuu philosophy is one of equality. No human or creature is superior or inferior to another. The Nimiipuu belief system honors the environment, while rejecting its exploitation for personal gain. Activity associated with the spiritual world was preceded by cleansing in the sweat lodge; to purify spirit, mind and body.

Individual tribal members sought, but did not always find a wéyekin, or guardian spirit, which is in the form of an animal, plant, or any life form, including the wind or the seasons. Others obtained wéyekins that enabled one person to help their people. This effort to find one’s individual wéyekin often resulted in a journey to the mountains or other sacred places so that total attention could be devoted to the search.

Ceremonies were conducted during mid-winter. They dramatized and honored the spirit powers associated with wéyekin. Once received, a wéyekin was never to be spoken of to others. Practitioners participated in ceremonies associated with healing physical and spiritual illnesses or other problems. The Nimiipuu and their Columbia River Plateau neighbors’ tolerance and ready acceptance of others, set the stage for the missionaries who arrived in the early nineteenth century.
Drum - NEPE 51 Headdress - NEPE 178 Drum - NEPE 304 Tomahawk and Drop - NEPE 1632 Fan - NEPE 1840 Dance Drum - NEPE 2259 Dance Rattles - NEPE 8787, NEPE 8788 Bonnet - NEPE 8790 Wolf Talisman - NEPE 8833
Drum - NEPE 33355 Drum and Drum Stick - NEPE 33916 and 33918 Nez Perce Drummers - NEPE-HI-C9713 St. Joseph’s Mission - NEPE-HI-0112 Nez Perce Drummers - NEPE-HI-2283