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."