Ta’c ‘éetx papáayn’kaa 'iin wées nimiipuu kuusnim qicxneweet titooqatímtki kaa sooyaapootímtki Stacia Morfin
Welcome, my Indian name is Takes Care of Water, and my given name is Stacia Morfin. I grew up at lepwéyma (Lapwai) and šimiinekem (Lewiston). My mother grew up at tuniiweyme or Juliaetta and my father at lepwéyma. I am a citizen of Nimíipuu nation whose ancestors originally came from pik’úunin (Snake River area between the Snake and Salmon River) and wawáwi, which is located on the lower-Snake River area above palúus, timíimap (up the Northfork of the Clearwater River), and saqánma (Canyon people of the Snake River) and lamáta (White Bird Creek and Sam River Area).
By sharing the places our people come from rather than calling out our family bands, we strengthen our inherent responsibility and the connection we have to our homeland.
Although I am the owner of Nez Perce Tourism, LLC doing business as Traditions Gift Shop, I know these businesses would not be possible without the support of my people. Each connection we make throughout our lives is intentional and I believe when the light of two people or more ignites good things happen.
The vision of Nez Perce Tourism revealed itself to me in 2017 while my family visited one of our power places. As my daughter q’emesn’im l’aatis (camas lily or Kalila) and I hiked to the top of this mountain and began to sing one of our old Nimiipuu songs, it wasn’t until the second verse one of our elders appeared to us, offering very direct set instructions. That message was to start a cultural tourism company to ensure traditional knowledge and places continue to be shared amongst our people, as well as to create a platform for our people to share our own narrative of the past, present, and future. I was told to visit all the places our old people once walked, to remind my people, our neighbors, and the world of these places, our landmarks, OUR HOME. I was warned about those who would come against this vision and I was given the directive to thank them as they are only concerned about protection of our old ways.
The vision I experienced with our elder was a directive that had to be followed. I began listening to the needs of our community and conducted an internal needs analysis as well as intense market research in the travel and tourism industry. Nez Perce Tourism opened its doors with a grand opening ceremony at Hells Gate State Park on March 29, 2019. Nez Perce Tourism is a community-based organization that provides a warm welcome to Nimiipuu Country where you experience a true sense of place with Nimiipuu “The People.” Radiating with cultural wisdom, Nez Perce Tourism is the only place in the world where you will hear the Nimiipuu side of history, witness the stories of our ancestors, and receive the legendary hospitality founded in our cultural understanding of honor and respect. I see Nez Perce Tourism, as an economic driver in Nimiipuu Country, and as a cultural and educational connection to ensure a bright future for generations. It is essential that our children are included in all aspects of the business, from planning to implementation, to experiencing a deeper connection to our culture, land, and water. Nez Perce Tourism provides one-on-one, elder-to-youth mentorship opportunities through a series of interactive workshops. Those learning opportunities preserve our history through interactive storytelling and the promotion of the protection of our homelands by navigating through traditional values via field trips.
Most recently, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, Nez Perce Tourism was able to expand doing business as Nez Perce Traditions also known as Traditions Gift Shop. While other tourism-related businesses are closing their doors (for good), we decided to operate at a limited capacity in the form of a gift shop with increased emphasis on shop native, shop local, and shop online. During this critical hour in history, Traditions Gift Shop has brought back the trade hub legacy of our people and created a streamline of income to generate monies for local families during this difficult time. We opened our doors on August 8, 2020, and have continued to work with many skilled artists offering their authentic trade goods to peoples from all over the world.
Most recently, we have added new team members to our operation. Help me welcome Jordan Shawl, Linnea Herrera, Gloria Garcia, and Sawaya Greene to the Traditions Gift Shop family. These individuals have proven themselves to be knowledgeable, honest, and are a respectful representation of their families, our community, and of future generations. Their contributions, among those of contributing artists, and our excited clientele have developed Traditions Gift Shop into not only a place to exchange goods, but a place to spend time visiting (socially distanced with masks) and learning about Nimiipuu and our homelands.