Paty Jager Looks at Nimiipuu Clothing

My historical paranormal, Spirit of the Mountain is set among the Nez Perce (Or Nimiipuu as they call themselves) in the time before the White man encroaches on their land. To write this story I had to do a great deal of research into the way of life of this group of people. The more I studied them the more interested and excited I became to write a story about their life style.

In the 18th century when my first book takes place the Nimiipuu were dependent upon nature for their clothing. Garments were made from dressed hides and furs from mountain sheep, deer, elk, antelope, mountain goat, bison, wolf, bear, coyote, and smaller creatures. The clothing worn by the men were breech-cloths, double aprons, leggings poncho shirts, belts, robes, blankets, moccasins, mittens, neckpieces, and fur or animal head caps. The women wore belted dresses, long shirts, skirts, aprons, leggings, poncho shirts, blankets, knee-length moccasins, and mittens.  The women also wore fez-shaped hats. These were made of twined grasses and hemp cordage in warm weather. Both sexes adorned their hair with fur strips in their braids. Boys and girls dressed much like their parents, and the younger children ran around in the warm weather with very little clothing.

Their daily clothing unless they were a headman, shaman, or warrior usually had little adornment. However for ceremonies they wore ornamented clothes decorated with polished elk’s teeth, beads, discs of stone, bone or shell, dyed or natural-colored porcupine quills, feathers, beaver teeth, paint and any other material they could find that could be sewn on and make their clothing eye-catching.

I’m a historical writer first and foremost so I had to have this information before I felt comfortable writing this story. I tried to incorporate as much of the Nimiipuu way of life into the story as I could and keep the pacing moving forward.  But the whole spirit faction of the story is made up.  That is fictional and I hope I did justice to the spirit and the world of the Nimiipuu.

Blurb for Spirit of the Mountain
Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, has been fated to save her people ever since her vision quest. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, her world is torn apart.

Himiin is the spirit of the mountain, custodian to all creatures including the Nimiipuu. As a white wolf he listens to Wren’s secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he cannot prevent her leaving the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.

When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin must leave the mountain to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…

Wren’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. “My gift is to save The People. The weyekin who came to me in my vision quest said this.” She wrapped her arms around herself as if staving off a cold breeze.
Himiin hated that they argued when they should relish their time together. He moved to her, drawing her against his chest, embracing her. The shape of her body molded to his. Her curves pressed against him. Holding her this way flamed the need he’d tried to suppress.
He placed a hand under her chin, raising her face to his. The sorrow in her eyes tugged at his conscience. To make her leaving any harder was wrong. But having experienced her in his arms, he was grieved to let her go. Even for the sake of their people.
Her eyelids fluttered closed. Her pulse quickened under his fingers. Shrugging off the consequences, he lowered his lips to hers. They were softer than he imagined. Her breath hitched as he touched her intimately. Parting his lips, he touched her with his tongue, wanting to see if she tasted as sweet as she smelled.

If you’d like to read more about me and my books or enter my website contest go to: 

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Ladies,  Thank you for having me here today. Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a copy of Spirit of the Mountain.


Buy Spirit of the Mountain HERE

Guest Blogger
Updated: October 14, 2010 — 11:14 pm


  1. Welcome Paty,what a interesting post,I love the pictures,ive never heard of that tribe before,cant wait to read that book,thanks


  2. Paty, thank you for visiting Wildflower Junction.
    What a beautiful cover! Good luck on your new book.

  3. That cover is just breathtaking, Paty. And what a wonderful story. As for the research – I admire and respect writers who do their homework, and you’ve certainly done yours. May your new book soar.

  4. The clothing in the photos you found is incredibly beautiful and detailed. Imagine all the time that went into those dresses.

    I have a thing for fringe. 🙂

    The question that burns within: Did the women wear any type of underclothing, like a thong? Seriously. I really wonder.

  5. your book sounds so interesting–what a great storyline…have me longing to find out what happens!
    i also respect writers so much for the research they do
    it’s amazing how you keep it all straight and weave it into your story

    i LOVE love LOVE your cover

    thanks for coming by and the chance at your book!

  6. ps–i had to smile at the look on the baby’s face all bundled up

  7. Vickie, I grew up in the Wallowa valley the home of the Lake Nimiipuu or Nez Perce. I’m sure you’ve heard of Chief Joseph and his run for the Canadian border to keep his people from going on a reservation. This is his band of Nez Perce that I write about and the third book actually takes place on that run for the border.

  8. Thanks, Margaret, I agree this cover is gorgeous! I owe the wonderful art work to Nicole Martinez cover artist at Wild Rose Press.

  9. Cheryl, they wore nothing underneath the outer clothing. When they were menstruating they remained in a hut just for that purpose, using either buffalo or rabbit fur for pads.

    In my second book you learn how they “diapered” the babies.

  10. Tabitha, the cradle board was not only a way for the mothers to haul their babies around and keep working it also made it easy to keep track of them. And being close to their mother and bundled up gave the child a sense of security.

    I agree about the cover!

  11. Beautiful cover. Sounds like a great story.

  12. That is a very beautiful cover! Your book sounds very interesting… reading the blurb alone has me wanting to read the book!

  13. This book has such a wonderful cover on it. I love the clothes worn here..I could wear things like these and be very comfortable, love to have a chance to win this book.susan L.

  14. Welcome Paty! I just finished Spirit of the Mountain and it such a beautiful story, so full of tears and hope and love, good details and the perfect “voice” for a long ago time and people. I just loved it. And the cover is beyond gorgeous.

    Thanks for covering for me today here in Wildflower Junction. Hubby and I are seriously enjoying our vacation in Hawaii. oxoxox

  15. Paty, what an interesting post. I enjoyed reading about the Nimiipuu clothes. The baby is adorable but not too happy all bundled up.LOL

  16. I really enjoyed your post, it’s a fascinating subject. My grandmother was Cherokee so I’ve always found Indian information very interesting.

  17. Your book sounds like a great read!

  18. Colleen, thank you! I love the cover and the book is actually the book of my heart so I enjoy hearing people say they want to read it.

  19. HI Susan,
    I agree their clothes do look comfortable and with the process by which they tanned the hides they were soft and supple.

  20. Tanya, I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

    And are enjoying the vacation, though I am jealous. Can’t get my hubby to visit the islands. He is not the least bit interested. My daughters and I are thinking about a girl’s trip.

  21. Hi Mona, Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Linda,

    Other than my father joking about my grandmother not being able to get pregnant until an old Pawnee visited her every day at the ranch where she cooked, I don’t have any Native American blood that I know of, but I have always had empathy and enjoyed concocting this trilogy and writing it.

  23. Hi Paty,

    Like everyone else, I love that cover. I love research and now I’m curious to learn more about the Nez Perce. How did the name come to change from Nimiipuu? I’m guessing somekind of French Trapper influence. The hats the women wore are interesting. I can’t think of another tribe where they wore hats, other than ceremonial. Fascinating stuff. I’m eager to read this whole series. Good luck with your sales.

  24. This book sounds great. Thanks for giving away a copy. Looking forward to reading this one.

  25. Paty, welcome back to the Junction. Thanks for the great information. I know how important research is–and how it can take over your life if you let it. Congrats on your story release and a gorgeous cover.

  26. HI Kathy!
    Nimiipuu means “The People”. This is how they thought of themselves. And you’re correct the French trappers thought Indians they saw who had bones through their noses were the Nez Perce and so call them pierced noses. But it was actually a different tribe, however, the name stuck to the Nimiipuu.

  27. Patsy, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  28. Thanks Tracy. I enjoy visiting the Junction.

  29. Patsy, nice post. Lovely photos, too.

  30. What an interesting post! I always enjoying reading your posts and your books!

  31. Avatar

    I know some people complain when authors put a lot of detail in their historical fiction. I am always thankful when an author researches the different facets of a story well and puts as much of that information as possible into the book. That is one of the reasons I read historical fiction. Picking up little tidbits about everyday life and customs is enjoyable and interesting. Many people would not bother with history or anthropology books to find out about a region or culture. They will, however pick up a romance or mystery and read it. Why not learn something while reading a good story?
    Thanks for an interesting post on the Nimiipuu.

  32. Thanks Connie!

    Patricia, that’s why I like writing historical romance I can impart some of the history in an entertaining way.

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