(Note: This blog is not posted in a consecutive timeline; but rather by concept. Meaning some posts further down in the blog may actually be from more recent times.)
The “whip man” takes to the arbor floor during final ceremonies of the Tamkaliks Celebration and Friendship Feast of 2009. This celebration, which takes place in the historic Wallowa Valley of Eastern Oregon, is the annual homecoming dance and feast hosted by descendants of Chief Joseph’s family and the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) Band members of the Nez Perce Tribe (Nimiipuu). Tamkaliks and the Nez Perce Interpretive Center and Homeland Project Campgrounds, the Nez Perce Fisheries' instrumental involvement in re-building healthy salmon populations in Wallowa County, local land grants given to the Nez Perce Tribe, and state park developments involving Nez Perce historical sites all represent a long-awaited homecoming and the dying wish of Chief Joseph for his people to return to their homeland. Until the end of his days Joseph worked tirelessly and pleaded with the U.S. government and the citizens of Wallowa County to allow his people to return to their beloved Wallowa (Land of Winding Waters) beneath the mountains. Finally, they have begun to come home. There is yet a long way to go however. Mostly the Nez Perce are still visitors in their own land. But now after 135 years they have a piece of that land to call their own once again. A place they can always return to and embrace the spirits of their ancestors.
(Note: For me personally these Nez Perce photos represent a beautiful homecoming in the making. They are not so much about the pain of the past or the present, but more about the beauty of the past, the present, and most of all the future for Native cultures of this continent. The homecoming of the Nimiipuu to the Wallowa represents for me a larger homecoming that needs to begin for all Native Peoples, not just in a presence on the land, but the reclamation of lost culture and heritage.)
Click Here For The Nez Perce Tribal History