Chief Joseph


In the late 1800s Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, or “Thunder Rolling Down The Mountain,” led the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans in northwestern Oregon. Known as Chief Joseph, he was acclaimed for speaking the truth and protecting his people against the horrors of the United States Army. In battle he forbade his warriors to scalp or torture their enemies, yet American soldiers massacred his women and children. On October 5, 1877, with most of his warriors dead and his people freezing, starving and maimed, Chief Joseph surrendered to the generals. “I will fight no more forever,” he said. “My people ask me for food, and I have none to give. It is cold and we have no wood, we have no blankets. My heart is sick and sad.”

Nearly twenty years later, a woolen mill opened in the Oregon town of Pendleton to sell blankets and robes to nearby tribes. In 1920, to honor Thunder Rolling Down The Mountain, the company created a blanket named for him, and today it is one of their most popular patterns. The arrowheads of its bold design represent the Chief’s courage, strength, integrity and bravery.

Our silk tribute to Hinmahtooyahlatkekt beautifully softens the sharp spearpoints of the original blanket, and with watercolor gentleness, the subtleties of rainbow colors of “Chief Joseph” mingle and meld with bright reds, orange, white and blues to exquisite and extraordinary effect.

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