Council honors Horace Axtell for his work  on longhouse project

Nez Perce elder Horace Axtell speaks about his tribe’s ways in his Lewiston Orchards living room.

LAPWAI - Elder Horace Axtell was honored during the Nez Perce Tribe's General Council meeting Saturday for his efforts in bringing about a longhouse project announced earlier in the week.

The longhouse, a project many years in the planning, will be built at Spalding Park. A blessing ceremony at the site is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 16.

The tribe's executive director, Rebecca Miles, praised Axtell's devotion to keeping traditional ways as a service to all tribal members.

"He was asked to carry a burden for our people ... to ensure future generations would learn this way of life," Miles said. "This is the most selfless man I know, right here."

Executive Committee Chairman Silas Whitman said it was an honor to see his uncle so recognized, as he presented a blanket on behalf of the committee.

"He took a lot of criticism for choosing the way," Whitman said.

Speaking first in the Nez Perce, or Nimiipuu, language, Axtell thanked the tribal members gathered at the Pi-Nee-Waus community center.

"All you good people understand the ways of our people," he said. "All of us, we're as good as anybody else."