The renaming of the Spalding-Allen Collection
A Historic Event for the Nimiipuu
the renaming of the Spalding-Allen Collection
“returned home after a period of captivity”
On June 26, 2021, Katy Nesbitt and I traveled from the “Wallowa Homeland” to the Nez Perce National Historical Park outside of Lapwei, Idaho, to witness a historical event for the Nimiipuu, aka Nez Perce.
I was one of two hired photographers to cover the event. It was not only an honor to be invited, but it was also another tremendous opportunity to learn more about the culture and traditions of the Nez Perce whose ancient homeland I have been calling my home since 2002.
I have been studying the culture and traditions of the tribe since 2002, but no book can replace the words and stories that come directly from tribal members. It has had a profound impact on my life on a personal and professional level.
Below is a brief compilation from different sources with information and quotes that preceded this incredible event. The below poster and videos featured from the event are ©productions and design by the Nez Perce. Gallery pictures are copyright ©Angelika Ursula Dietrich. A news account written by my dear friend Katy Nesbitt will follow later.
A "Renaming Celebration"
of the Spalding-Allen collection
marked a defining moment for the Nez Perce Tribe on June 26, 2021, at the Nez Perce National Historical Park outside of Lapwei, Idaho.
Against all odds, the tribe was able to regain ownership over a collection of artifacts that were originally removed over 185 years ago by Reverend Henry H. Spalding.
The Spalding-Allen Collection came together during work to split the Nez Perce people from their traditional ways of life. It was collected by Presbyterian missionary Henry Spalding, who arrived in the Lapwai area in 1836 to convert the Nez Perce to Christianity. In 1846, Spalding shipped an array of Nez Perce clothing, accessories and horse gear to a supporter, Dr. Dudley Allen of Kinsman, Ohio, in exchange for materials for his mission (Source: Inland360).
In 1995, Pinkham and her 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Temi Cree Meninick, posed for a photo that was used as part of the national campaign to raise $608,100 to buy back the collection. (Source: Inland360)
Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chairman, Samuel N. Penney said in an earlier press release
“On this day, we will bestow a much more appropriate name to a collection that was taken from us in the 1840’s. This renaming will be the final act toward truly and completely re-connecting these amazing pieces of material art to the Nimiipuu people. An appropriate Nimiipuu name will bring the connection full circle”.
“Our gratefulness is so immense; it is simply hard to put into words. As we move forward from here, we anticipate that many Nez Perce artists will utilize this collection in developing their own unique patterns and designs, while still incorporating these treasured and timeless Nez Perce designs as well,” continued Chairman Penney.
By Angelika Ursula Dietrich
Nakia Cloud-Williamson, Nez Perce Tribal member and Director of the Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resource Program explains, “The re-naming of the collection is a significant step to shed the colonial legacy that has been the reality of the historical circumstances that this collection was originally made and the parallel disruption that Nimíipuu society has endured.
It is indeed, a powerful assertion of an enduring world view and value system, that has overcome systematic oppression, devaluation and ultimately genocide. Bringing out a name is a thoughtful process and is not only a means to identify, but also to confer certain qualities and aspirations.
It is with this understanding, that this collection of cultural items is re-contextualized within context of the community and the land which it originates, with the hope that this collection will continue to symbolize the values which define our identity and the resiliency of the Nimíipuu.”.
Renaming the Spalding-Allen Collection.
“The re-naming of the collection is a significant step
to shed the colonial legacy that has been the reality of the historical circumstances that this collection was originally made and the parallel disruption that Nimíipuu society has endured.”
~ Nakia Cloud-Williamson, Nez Perce Tribal member and Director of the Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resource Program
On a personal note:
Putting together the featured compilation of pictures, videos, and third-party sources was like painting a picture. A picture that should not only reflect my first assignment by the Nez Perce tribe but even more importantly, a piece of History that shall not be ignored.
Based on my mother’s heritage and backed by personal experiences in life, my purpose has always been that of humanitarian efforts and affairs. I shall continue to take part in this mission assigned to me by my Creator with the gift of photography and writing.
If you are reading this I want to thank you for taking the time to read and view this important piece of what is now American history.
~Angelika Urusla Dietrich – Wild Horses Thunder