Basanite arrowhead

Cultural Narrative: 

This arrowhead was one of five found at the site of ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass') camp near the himeq'isníme (Clearwater River) in present-day léewikees (Kooskia, Idaho). ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass) was a Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) leader who was initially against any form of war between the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) and U.S. military (the resulting Nez Perce War of 1877) and instead, wanted to promote peace and remain neutral. As a result, ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass) and approximately 150 members of his specific Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) band founded their own peaceful settlement near the himeq'isníme (Middle Fork of the Clearwater River) in June 1877. Despite the fact that ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass) wanted his village to remain peaceful and neutral, soldiers from Captain Stephen G. Whipple's U.S. Army unit fired on the camp as part of the Nez Perce War on July 1, 1877. As a result, the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) villagers left their camp and the soldiers destroyed most of the village. Due to the attack on his peaceful village, ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass) refrained from staying neutral and fought with the other Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) bands as part of the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) attached arrowheads to the ends of arrow shafts/bases to use for hunting or warfare. During the Nez Perce War of 1877, the majority of Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) warriors used other weapons, such as tim’úuni (rifles), but a few continued to use tim’úuni (bows) and arrows in battle. It is unknown whether this arrowhead was used for warfare or hunting purposes, but was more likely used for hunting due to the many Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) living at ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass') peaceful village and the preference of most Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) warriors for other types of weaponry.

This arrowhead (1986.2.49) is light brown/tan in color and is the first arrowhead in the row going left to right. It is made of basanite, which is an igneous, volcanic rock. There are four additional arrowheads moving to left to right after this arrowhead that are categorized as 1986.2.46 (second arrowhead), 1986.2.48 (third arrowhead), 1986.2.47 (fourth arrowhead), and 1986.2.45 (fifth arrowhead). These arrowheads range in size from 2.3 cm - 3.2 cm in length and 1.4 cm - 1.7 cm in width. Though it is unknown who originally crafted this arrowhead or when it was crafted, the arrowhead likely belonged to and was made by a Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) member of ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass's) village. Most likely, the arrowhead dates back to at least 1877 as it was found at the site ’elelímyeté’qenin’ (Chief Looking Glass') camp that formed in June 1877.

The other items in this photograph include six stone sinkers (1986.2.50-55), two obsidian flake scrapers (1986.2.57), and a cube-shaped pipe (1986.2.83).