Pub. Date:
University of Oklahoma Press
Little Bit of Wisdom: Conversations with a Nez Perce Elder

Little Bit of Wisdom: Conversations with a Nez Perce Elder

by Horace P. Axtell, Margo Aragon


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In A LITTLE BIT OF WISDOM, Horace Axtell, a contemporary Nez Perce elder and spiritual leader, recounts to Margo Aragon his family's history and his own personal journey. It is a book about growing up Christian while maintaining a strong tribal identity, about going first to war and then to prison, and then coming home to rediscover the Long House and the sacred practice of the Seven Drum Religion and the Sweat House.

"Following Chief Joseph and Yellow Wolf's tradition, Horace Axtell imparts Nez Perce tribal wisdom and personal history with simplicity and grace. His timeless reflection on Celilo Falls, World War II, and the Seven Drum Religion bridge two cultures. His is a rewarding and deserving voice. Listen."--Craig Lesley, author of THE SKY FISHERMAN

"In Wallowa Country, Oregon, true Nez Perce country, people tune themselves to stones, river, lake bottom, trying to hear more than the bright air. It feels so much older than 'the USA' there. Now here's a voice that rings so truly and wonderfully out of the terrible history of native displacement, that wakes the silence right up, speaks straight from the center, without fanfare but with great beauty and grace and more than 'a little bit' of wisdom. A big and necessary bit! Bravo to Horace Axtell and Margo Aragon for the gift of this telling--may these clear words from the source travel far, travel everywhere."--Naomi Shihab Nye

"This book is less about ethnicity than about an experience-based philosophy of life, marked by recollections of segregation, relationships, prison, alcohol, and activism, all deeply enriched by stories from the elders that teach how to live, how to present oneself, how to behave."--Choice

"Axtell wields a certain magic. . . . [He] is a curious admixture of the sacred and the profane, the serious and the comic, the intellect and the heart. He is also, in a literary sense, a modern Indian anti-hero, the antithesis of stereotypical notions of what it means to be an Indian."--Bloomsbury Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806132693
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Pages: 217
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents


Preface(p ix)
1. It's Good to Have an Indian Name (p 2)
2. Strong Spiritual Feelings (p 10)
3. Grandmother Told Me This (p 38)
4. Borrowed Language (p 50)
5. These Old Powers (p 54)
6. All My Uncles (p 62)
7. The Old Man (p 68)
8. They Wanted To Kill Us (p 84)
9. Warriors and War (p 96)
10. Inside the Walls (p 150)
11. Getting Back to My Plan (p 164)
12. It's My Turn (p 180)
13. Coming Back to the Indian Ways (p 184)
14. Don't Call Me Chief (p 196)
15. Washington, D.C. (p 200)
16. When You Talk From Your Heart(p 204)
Epilogue (p 213)
Glossary (p 215)

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Little Bit of Wisdom: Conversations with a Nez Perce Elder 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a GREAT book by a wonderful and kind elder. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Axtell and Ms. Argon when I was attending Montana State University-Billings. I have enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in Nez Perce culture. Learning from elders is the only way.