Renaming Celebration Shines Spotlight on Nez Perce Artifacts

click to enlarge Detail of Man's Shirt with dyed porcupine quill work and Venetian glass beads from the Spalding-Allen Collection.
Detail of Man's Shirt with dyed porcupine quill work and Venetian glass beads from the Spalding-Allen Collection.


The Nez Perce Tribe is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the return of a valuable collection of cultural items with a renaming celebration and series of events sharing the story of its journey and its importance to the people.

One of the earliest and largest documented collections of material culture from a Plateau tribe, the 21 items were acquired by the Rev. Henry H. Spalding from individual Nez Perce tribal members in the mid-1800s. Spalding sent the items to his benefactor, Dudley Allen, who lived in Ohio. In 1996, the tribe launched a national campaign to raise $608,100 to buy back the collection from the Ohio Historical Society. The collection’s new name is to be announced at a ceremony June 26 at Nez Perce National Historical Park at Spalding, where the original acquisition took place.

“The re-naming of this collection is a significant step to reclaiming ownership of one of the most significant ethnographic collections in existence. More importantly, renaming helps us in rejecting colonialism and its impacts on our 'way of life,’ ” Nakia Williamson-Cloud, director of the Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resource Program, said in a news release.

Coming events commemorating the anniversary include:


  • Spalding-Allen Collection Soft Opening Ceremony, 5-7 p.m. June 3, Clearwater River Casino Lobby outside Lewiston.


  • Spalding-Allen Collection: Presentation by Nakia Williamson-Cloud, 10 to 11 a.m. June 5, Nez Perce National Historical Park Museum, Spalding.


  • Spalding-Allen Collection panel discussion with Lynne Pinkham, Kevin Peters, Josiah Pinkham, Trevor Bond and Bob Chenoweth, 3-4 p.m. June 19, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Spalding.


  • "Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Nimiipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage," book-signing event with author Trevor Bond, 4-5 p.m. June 19, Nez Perce National Historical Park Museum, Spalding.


  • Nez Perce Renaming Celebration: Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Return of the Spalding-Allen Collection, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 26, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Spalding.

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