In Coming Home to Nez Perce Country, Trevor James Bond aims to prove that the process by which the Spalding-Allen Collection was acquired came under dubious circumstances. In doing so, Bond takes readers on a multilayered journey through history, with the collection serving as an underlying living entity, lying in wait, facing multiple challenges to return to its rightful home among the Niimiipuu.

In 1847, missionary Henry Spalding shipped two barrels of Nez Perce material culture to his friend Dr. Dudley Allen in Ohio. The journey would take two years and an incredible toll on the condition of the items, yet Allen begged, “I want more [Native American collections]. They are all worth having!” (17). Bond highlights the destructive practice of missionaries and colonists removing items from tribes as well as assimilation attempts and federal policies that have historically supported these dark efforts.

Nearly 150 years since the barrels...

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