Wilfred and Bessie Scott: Honoring the Redheart Band

Wilfred and Bessie Scott (Nez Perce) talk about their experiences in the Redheart Band at ceremonies. 0:52.

Bios: Wilfred Scott (or Scotty) is a respected Nez Perce elder and veteran. Wilfred Scott became involved in the early days of Confluence Project. At that time he was on the Nez Perce Tribal Council (NPTC). Scotty grew up in Montana and was in the Navy between 1951-72. He is ½ Nez Perce on his father’s side. He became interested in Nez Perce culture as a young man and later became involved in tribal politics. He is still involved in fishing issues through CRITFC. Scotty was instrumental in initiating the Red Heart Band Memorial ceremony at Fort Vancouver, that honors and mourns the loss of the Nez Perce who were imprisoned there.

Bessie is his high school sweetheart and wife. She speaks Nez Perce and is part of the staff for the Nez Perce Language program keeping the language and culture alive.

Transcription:

“Every time we do these memorials, one the first things I tell the people — I tell them why we’re there, why we’re here sometimes. And ah, I say, ‘Today we come, you know, we return here.’ And I tell them why, and I give a little history of what happened there way back when. But I tell them, “We’re not here to ask anybody to go up and say they’re sorry, we’re not here seeking forgiveness from anybody. We’re here to honor those that were here 139 years ago, or whenever the time may be.’ . I tell them, you know, when we honor them, we honor ourselves. I remind the people of that.”

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