Nakia Williamson-Cloud interprets a photograph of Red Curlew or First Red Feather

Cultural Narrative: 

This is a man known as [     ] 00:04 or Red Curlew or sometimes some reference to a red feather on a wing. But in our language, that is referencing a red curlew. And this man later on was known as Charlie [Moctin?]. And the curlew, which is a water bird that lives around marshy areas and has a particular kind of call to it when it yells, cries out. But the curlew doesn’t seem like a very impressive bird in terms of being associated with war. But the curlew, that bird was very prominent, actually, in some of the warriors that were known to have wéeyekin that would protect them in battle. Because the curlew, when it flies, it flies all over. And it doesn’t fly in a straight line like ducks do or geese or other birds. It flies very erratically. And it was that character of how that bird would fly that was valued by Nez Perce warriors. because in battle, you wouldn’t be able to get a bead on them if you had a bow or arrow or gun. Because the way they moved in battle would enable them, keep them from being shot. So that was a very powerful wéeyekin of Nez Perce warriors.

And this man was very much in the warrior class, a young man during the 1877 war. And I believe he may have escaped into Canada and eventually returned. And originally was related upon the [Caldo?] reservation. But he was returned back with I think thirty individuals, along with [    ] 1:54 or Yellow Bull. And several individuals that came back and returned to the Nez Perce reservation. And when he settled on the Nez Perce reservation, he settled on the Clearwater, just kind of near what we know as Julietta. It’s just up the Clearwater from Spalding, Idaho.

And there’s a little burial site on the north side of the Clearwater River where he was buried. And one of my elders, as we would drive down the river, would often point over to where he was buried and would say, “That’s where Charlie [Moctin?] or [    ] 2:31 is buried. And he was one of the warriors that was in the battle in ’77.

And so here he’s depicted wearing a [   ]  2:40 or a type of jacket or [   ] 2:45 as they call it that’s made out of the red or blue trade cloth, or green trade cloth. And there are kind of fancy jackets that were worn by Nez Perce men. And he has the typical cloth leggings we call [   ] 3:01 and deer hide moccasins and [    ] 3:06 made out of a shawl with a plaid print and just a regular shirt and a loop necklace that the Nez Perce people were known for. He also wears a [    ] 3:18 or an eagle feather headdress in this particular photo and carries a lever action rifle. I don't know if that’s a Henry’s or if it’s an early Winchester rifle. Much like the rifles that would have been used in the battle when they acquired those rifles. They also were using Springfield carbines, 73 and 76 carbines. But this man was a very well-known warrior and was also a very large individual. Around six-three was his height. And McWhorter did a series of measurements and weights of some of the warriors. And a lot of them that he measured and weighed were quite tall individuals, around six feet. [     ] 4:14 or Yellow Wolf was around five foot eleven. And that’s what I’m referencing those measurements that McWhorter had done. And he measured and weighed many of the warrior class that he had interviewed. So this is one individual that came from that time and eventually returned back to the Nez Perce reservation. And eventually died and was buried along the Clearwater River.