sám’x (shirt)

Cultural Narrative: 

This sám’x (shirt) is representative of a transitional period regarding clothing in Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) culture during the late 1800s. Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) clothing, including sám’x (shirts), were traditionally made by Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) from animal hides, such as tin'uun, ram (male mountain sheep), hiyetey, ewe (female big horn sheep), coq'aláynin' (pronghorn doe), and deer. Through their interactions with European traders and manufacturers in the western United States, Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) also began using commercially made clothing or incorporated trade good materials, such as cotton, linen, or woolen cloth, in addition to the traditional hides. When Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) wore manufactured clothing, they would adapt the clothing to incorporate elements stylistic to Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) clothing, such as fringe or specific patterns. The commercially made clothing also began to have the form and style of Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) clothes. Though Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) continued to wear clothes constructed from the traditional hides, men and women were more regularly wearing commercially made clothing for everyday use during this period. This specific sám’x (shirt) is red in color, made from cotton, and was made as early as the 1860s-1870s. Though the specific creator is unknown, this sám’x (shirt) was likely commercially created or made by Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) women from manufactured cloth. Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) women then modified the sám’x (shirt) to include elements stylistic of Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) clothing by adding fringe on both the sleeves, collar, and body of the shirt. This technique is called "self-fringe" as the fringe was cut directly out of the shirt and not inserted into the seems of the shirt. Image 1: This photo provides an overview of the front of the sám’x (shirt). It is red in color, made from cotton, and has fringe on the body, sleeves, and collar of the sám’x (shirt). The sám’x (shirt) also has a long, open neck collar. Image 2: This photo showcases detail of the fringed sám’x (shirt) collar. In addition, this photo highlights the small square black pattern printed throughout as this sám’x (shirt) was either commercially manufactured or made by Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) women from manufactured cloth. Image 3: This photo showcases the back of the sám’x (shirt). It has the same small, black square pattern throughout.