Katherine Quartz of the Walker River Paiute tribe, plays a flute song titled “Waterflow” to honor the son of Little Bear during the 16th annual Nez Perce Chief Redheart Memorial Ceremony at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve on Saturday. The 2-year-old boy died while the Chief Redheart Band was imprisoned at the fort through the winter of 1877-1878.
As the U.S. Army attempted to remove tribal members from ancestral lands, 33 members of Chief Redheart’s band were captured under the direction of Gen. O.O. Howard. Even though the band of Nez Perce had neither fought in the Indian Wars nor committed any crimes, they were held prisoner at Fort Vancouver.
Saturday’s ceremony included singing, speeches and a sacred pipe ritual, paying tribute to tribal ancestors and ideals while healing old wounds.
At left, Jason Redheart leads a riderless Appaloosa during the ceremony. The riderless horse also honors the 2-year-old who died.