Nez Perce Legend Horace Axtell Dies 

Horace Axtell
  • Horace Axtell


A legendary elder of  the Nez Perce Tribe has died in his Lewiston home, where he continued to share stories, many of them firsthand, of the events that surrounded his remarkable life.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports Horace Axtell, 90, died Monday, Sept. 7.

Axtell was a World War II veteran, mill worker, drum maker and representative of the Nez Perce tribe at the historic opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. Descendant of a Nez Perce warrior, his most important role was as a spiritual leader in the Seven Drum religion and expert in his native Nimi'ipuu language, according to the Tribune.

click to enlarge Horace Axtell
  • Horace Axtell
In a 2008 Tribune interview, Axtell talked about how his grandmother could read the weather by the hoot of an owl and how he counseled countless Native American students. That same year, he was was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage fellowship.

"He lived his life in a way that affected many people," retired Lewis-Clark College anthropology professor Alan Marshall told the Tribune. "He shared a great deal and people loved him for it, throughout the Native American community and beyond. People were impressed with him."
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