Page 10 of 18

Part 10, Memorial

A Tsoopnitpeloo Legend

As Told by Otis Halfmoon Of the Nez Perce Tribe


We jump all the way to the 20th century—about those two warriors that died in St. Louis. This year, Chairman Sam Penny and myself were in St. Louis for another meeting with Lewis and Clark. And it was interesting. I got to work with Mr. Bob Moore, who is the historian for the Jefferson [National] Expansion [Memorial]. He was doing some research for me for about a year and a half. And I feed him information about these two warriors—years, names, and so forth. And we finally found the burial records of these two warriors. The reason it took so long to find them was, it's all written in French, and we had to find somebody to translate the burial records. When we were there, Monsignor McCarthy, who is in charge of Calvary Cemetery, said that he found the location of these two warriors.

And so Chairman Penny and I went out there to see those burials. And it was beautiful—the location where they're at. It made me feel really good, that Chairman Sam Penny and I was probably the first Nez Perce to see these graves ever since 1831. Made me feel really good. Chairman Penny is a direct descendent of one of those warriors that died there. And the other warrior that died there is also a direct descendent of Xah-xahs ill-pillp, who met Lewis and Clark in 1805–1806. So again that tie, that circle, continues. The son of Xah-xahs ill-pillp is buried in St. Louis. That was powerful. And that's something down the road—I know we will look for, the Nez Perce people to have a monument erected in memory of these two warriors.