Nez Perce woman Penahwenonmi on magical immunity from bullets

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He-me-ne-mox-mox, Yellow Wolf of the 'Invincible 20' of the Nez Perce War; 1877.
He-me-ne-mox-mox, Yellow Wolf of the ‘Invincible 20’ of the Nez Perce War; 1877.

“There were seven Nez Perces whose bodies from shoulders down were bulletproof. All were killed by shots in the neck. One of these warriors was Sarpsis Ilppilp, son of Chief Yellow Bull, killed in the battle of the Big Hole. A strand of the wampum necklace he wore was cut by the bullet that killed him. One of these men who received bullets on his body showed black spots the size of a dime.”

Two Moons also held faith in this immunity against enemy bullets. He tells how he saw Sarpsis Ilppilp and two companions, Wahlitits and Strong Eagle, ride the battle line at White Bird Canyon without incurring any injury from the shots rained upon them by the soldiers. On another occasion, he said, Sarpsis loosened his belt and permitted several bullets, some of them misshapen as if they had hit an impenetrable surface, to fall to the ground. His red flannel shirt showed perforations, but no bullet had broken the skin.”

-Penahwenonmi (Helping Another); fm. Yellow Wolf: His Own Story. Lucullus McWhorter, 1991.

Yellow Wolf is buried in the Nespelem Cemetery in Nespelem, WA (pictured here). The grave of Chief Joseph is visible in the background at left.


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