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Horace Axtell

nelson curtis Horace Axtell is a Nez Perce elder and the leader of the Seven Drum Religion on the Nez Perce Reservation. He has taught the Nez Perce language at Lewis-Clark State College. His story has been told in a book co-written with Margo Aragon A Little Bit of Wisdom, and in a documentary film, “Nee-mee-poo: The Power of Our Dance.”
He has given much of his time as a cultural interpreter and tribal historian to scholars, documentary filmmakers, and others interested in Nez Perce traditions.

In A Little Bit of Wisdom, Axtell tells his story about growing up in Lapwai and learning Nez Perce traditions, language, and beliefs from his elders. He is a veteran of World War II, and was among one of the first expeditionary forces to enter the Japanese city of Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped. He reflects on his experiences with racism, mistakes he made that landed him for a time in the Idaho State Penitentiary, his years as a Potlatch mill worker in Lewiston, and his eventual belief in and practice of the Seven Drum religion. His memoir has been praised for its frank and gentle honesty. Audiences throughout Idaho have been moved by his quiet demeanor and the wisdom conveyed in his story.

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