Idaho History December 16, 2018

Chief Joseph Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt

Nimi’ipuu (Nez Perce)


Chief Joseph. (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)
(click image for larger size)

source: Chief Joseph: The Tragic Journey That Led to His Famous Surrender, by B. Myint
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“If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian… we can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike… give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who is born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. Let me be a free man… free to travel… free to stop… free to work… free to choose my own teachers… free to follow the religion of my Fathers… free to think and talk and act for myself.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph with Alice Fletcher, government allotting agent, when the Nez Perce Reservation was thrown open. James Stewart kneeling. 1890

source: Betsy Roberts
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Chief Joseph

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt
(1840-1904)

The man who became a national celebrity with the name “Chief Joseph” was born in the Wallowa Valley in what is now northeastern Oregon in 1840. He was given the name Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, or Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain, but was widely known as Joseph, or Joseph the Younger, because his father had taken the Christian name Joseph when he was baptized at the Lapwai mission by Henry Spalding in 1838.

Joseph the Elder was one of the first Nez Percé converts to Christianity and an active supporter of the tribe’s longstanding peace with whites. In 1855 he even helped Washington’s territorial governor set up a Nez Percé reservation that stretched from Oregon into Idaho. But in 1863, following a gold rush into Nez Percé territory, the federal government took back almost six million acres of this land, restricting the Nez Percé to a reservation in Idaho that was only one tenth its prior size. Feeling himself betrayed, Joseph the Elder denounced the United States, destroyed his American flag and his Bible, and refused to move his band from the Wallowa Valley or sign the treaty that would make the new reservation boundaries official.

When his father died in 1871, Joseph was elected to succeed him. He inherited not only a name but a situation made increasingly volatile as white settlers continued to arrive in the Wallowa Valley. Joseph staunchly resisted all efforts to force his band onto the small Idaho reservation, and in 1873 a federal order to remove white settlers and let his people remain in the Wallowa Valley made it appear that he might be successful. But the federal government soon reversed itself, and in 1877 General Oliver Otis Howard threatened a cavalry attack to force Joseph’s band and other hold-outs onto the reservation. Believing military resistance futile, Joseph reluctantly led his people toward Idaho.

Unfortunately, they never got there. About twenty young Nez Percé warriors, enraged at the loss of their homeland, staged a raid on nearby settlements and killed several whites. Immediately, the army began to pursue Joseph’s band and the others who had not moved onto the reservation. Although he had opposed war, Joseph cast his lot with the war leaders.

What followed was one of the most brilliant military retreats in American history. Even the unsympathetic General William Tecumseh Sherman could not help but be impressed with the 1,400 mile march, stating that “the Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise… [they] fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications.” In over three months, the band of about 700, fewer than 200 of whom were warriors, fought 2,000 U.S. soldiers and Indian auxiliaries in four major battles and numerous skirmishes.

By the time he formally surrendered on October 5, 1877, Joseph was widely referred to in the American press as “the Red Napoleon.” It is unlikely, however, that he played as critical a role in the Nez Percé’s military feat as his legend suggests. He was never considered a war chief by his people, and even within the Wallowa band, it was Joseph’s younger brother, Olikut, who led the warriors, while Joseph was responsible for guarding the camp. It appears, in fact, that Joseph opposed the decision to flee into Montana and seek aid from the Crows and that other chiefs — Looking Glass and some who had been killed before the surrender — were the true strategists of the campaign. Nevertheless, Joseph’s widely reprinted surrender speech has immortalized him as a military leader in American popular culture:

I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, “Yes” or “No.” He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

Joseph’s fame did him little good. Although he had surrendered with the understanding that he would be allowed to return home, Joseph and his people were instead taken first to eastern Kansas and then to a reservation in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) where many of them died of epidemic diseases. Although he was allowed to visit Washington, D.C., in 1879 to plead his case to U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, it was not until 1885 that Joseph and the other refugees were returned to the Pacific Northwest. Even then, half, including Joseph, were taken to a non-Nez Percé reservation in northern Washington, separated from the rest of their people in Idaho and their homeland in the Wallowa Valley.

In his last years, Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America’s promise of freedom and equality might one day be fulfilled for Native Americans as well. An indomitable voice of conscience for the West, he died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland, according to his doctor “of a broken heart.”

source: PBS
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“The earth is our mother. She should not be disturbed by hoe or plough. We want only to subsist on what she freely gives us. Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. I have carried a heavy load on my back ever since I was a boy. I realized then that we could not hold our own with the white men. We were like deer. They were like grizzly bears. We had small country. Their country was large. We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not, and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph

(1840–1904)

Chief Joseph was born on March 3, 1840, in Wallowa Valley, Oregon Territory. When the United States attempted to force the Nez Perce to move to a reservation in 1877, he reluctantly agreed. Following the killing of a group of white settlers, tensions erupted again, and Chief Joseph tried to lead his people to Canada, in what is considered one of the great retreats in military history.

Early Years

The leader of one band of the Nez Perce people, Chief Joseph was born Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt in 1840 in the Wallowa Valley in what is now Oregon. His formal Native American name translates to Thunder Rolling Down a Mountain, but he was largely known as Joseph, the same name his father, Joseph the Elder, had taken after being baptized in 1838.

Joseph the Elder’s relationship with the whites had been unprecedented. He’d been one of the early Nez Perce leaders to convert to Christianity, and his influence had gone a long way toward establishing peace with his white neighbors. In 1855, he forged a new treaty that created a new reservation for the Nez Perce.

But that peace was fragile. After gold was discovered in the Nez Perce territory, white prospectors began to stream onto their lands. The relationship was soon upended when the United States government took back millions of acres it had promised to Joseph the Elder and his people.

The irate chief denounced his former American friends and destroyed his Bible. More significantly, he refused to sign off on the boundaries of this “new” reservation and leave the Wallowa Valley.

Leader of His People

Following Joseph the Elder’s death in 1871, Chief Joseph assumed his father’s leadership role as well as the positions he’d staked out for his people. As his father had done before him, Chief Joseph, along with fellow Nez Perce leaders, chiefs Looking Glass and White Bird, balked at the resettlement plan.

As tensions mounted, the three chiefs sensed that violence was imminent. In 1877, recognizing what a war could mean for their people, the chiefs backed down and agreed to the new reservation boundaries.

Just before the move, however, warriors from White Bird’s band attacked and killed several white settlers. Chief Joseph understood there would be brutal repercussions and in an effort to avoid defeat, and most likely his own death, he led his people on what is now widely considered one of the most remarkable retreats in military history.

Over the course of four long months, Chief Joseph and his 700 followers, a group that included just 200 actual warriors, embarked on a 1,400-mile march toward Canada. The journey included several impressive victories against a U.S. force that numbered more than 2,000 soldiers.

But the retreat took its toll on the group. By the fall of 1877 Chief Joseph and his people were exhausted. They had come within 40 miles of the Canadian border, reaching the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana, but were too beaten and starving to continue to fight.

Having seen his warriors reduced to just 87 fighting men, having weathered the loss of his own brother, Olikut, and having seen many of the women and children near starvation, Chief Joseph surrendered to his enemy, delivering one of the great speeches in American history.

“I am tired of fighting,” he said. “Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

Final Years

Regarded in the American press as the “Red Napoleon,” Chief Joseph achieved great acclaim in the latter half of his life. Still, not even his standing among the whites could help his people return to their homeland in the Pacific Northwest.

Following his surrender, Chief Joseph and his people were escorted, first to Kansas, and then to what is present-day Oklahoma. Joseph spent the next several years pleading his people’s case, even meeting with President Rutherford Hayes in 1879.

Finally, in 1885, Joseph and others were allowed to return to the Pacific Northwest, but it was far from a perfect solution. So many of his people had already perished, either from war or disease, and their new home was still miles from their true homeland in the Wallowa Valley.

Chief Joseph did not live to see again the land he’d known as a child and young warrior. He died on September 21, 1904, and was buried in the Colville Indian Cemetery on the Colville Reservation in the state of Washington.

source: Biography.com
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“Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all people as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that is was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take another his wife or his property without paying for it.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph and family, c. 1880


(click image for larger size)
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“If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect him to grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph, Nez Perce (Nimi’ipuu)

Chief Joseph, as Remembered by Ohiyesa (Charles A. Eastman)

Chief Joseph, known by his people as In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder coming up over the land from the water), was best known for his resistance to the U.S. Government’s attempts to force his tribe onto reservations. The Nez Perce were a peaceful nation spread from Idaho to Northern Washington. The tribe had maintained good relations with the whites after the Lewis and Clark expedition. Joseph spent much of his early childhood at a mission maintained by Christian missionaries.

In 1855 Chief Joseph’s father, Old Joseph, signed a treaty with the U.S. that allowed his people to retain much of their traditional lands. In 1863 another treaty was created that severely reduced the amount of land, but Old Joseph maintained that this second treaty was never agreed to by his people.

A showdown over the second “non-treaty” came after Chief Joseph assumed his role as Chief in 1877.

After months of fighting and forced marches, many of the Nez Perce were sent to a reservation in what is now Oklahoma, where many died from malaria and starvation.

Chief Joseph tried every possible appeal to the federal authorities to return the Nez Perce to the land of their ancestors. In 1885, he was sent along with many of his band to a reservation in Washington where, according to the reservation doctor, he later died of a broken heart.
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“We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts; If he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph

by Brookie Craig

Chief Joseph, was kept captive, never being allowed to return to his Nez Pearce Homeland even though General Miles promised he could live in Idaho. Chief Joseph is buried on the Colville Reservation in Washington and today I visited his grave to do ceremony.

The small village there consists of one gas station…. very few houses and no businesses… very desolate in a unforgiving country of arid, desert surroundings. His grave sits on a small hill…. surrounded by others of the People… most without headstones, but some with small rocks marking their final resting place.

I find him easily, sensing to know exactly where to go… and he is buried under the only tree in the cemetery… a sort of gnarled, broken, old, withered tree… A marker is there, furnished by Western Washington University in 1906, a few months after he died in 1905 at the age of 60, alone and forgotten by most of that time.

A sense of profound sadness captures me as I sit by the neglected grave of one of our People’s greatest Leaders… Long ago items, now withered and decaying… left by those who do not remember his greatness, scattered in disarray, cluttering the ground in their glory to him.

Arrows… beads… plastic roses… feathers… strips of decaying cloths… a Colville Reservation emblem jacket, hanging on the tree… a bic lighter… many cigarettes stained by rains, or teardrops… a plastic water bottle… a priceless bone necklace draped on the tombstone… rocks… hand drawn pictures… private written messages held down by rocks… and countless coins, strewn all around broken vases holding stems of sage.

No one seems to clean up around it. It bothers me to know that this great leader is neglected as I sit caressed in the cool shadows of that ancient tree and I try to understand it all.

I notice that they even buried him facing West and not East towards his homeland… I weep… my tears joining countless unknown others who have felt the pain there. I tell him I hope he has found his peace… and the winds begin to come. Another there with me, who is watching from a respectful distance tells me later I have spoken aloud… “He is here.”

The winds become stronger and he tells me later that they suddenly change direction, coming from the North… the direction they captured and brought him here from.

The light is dimming… I look up… and shade my eyes, looking over the horizon hills… seeing in my heart his figure on a pony. Silently I watch… and continue with the sage and cedar… and feel an overwhelming sense of sacredness like I have never felt before. I look up in the overhanging branches and see the long deserted birds nest… and the sky shows clear. Through its twigs I see the Nez Perce in their long retreat… fighting… struggling to reach freedom and asylum with Sitting Bull across the Border in Canada… for 105 days… always moving… 700 people… women, children… elderly… walking 1,800 miles… only to be captured within 50 miles of their destination and freedom. Captured only because he was forced to surrender, refusing to leave the sick and dying of his People there, alone.

I remember that his tactics were so brilliant they are taught to this day at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point… and as I clear the decay from the ground which holds him captive, my heart remembers his words, “From where this sun now stands, I shall fight no more forever.”

I watch the sun leaving me… and the shadow of this warrior falls back into the mountains. I touch the ground which caresses him… and weep for a man who believed in the goodness of others… who wanted nothing more than freedom… who was so great that an entire People walked those tortuous miles in freezing sleet and snows… who was never allowed to see his home again… and these words come strong to my heart to share with you… spoken from that sacred place: “We live, we die, and like the grass and trees, renew ourselves from the soft clods of the grave. Stones crumble and decay, faiths grow old and they are forgotten but new beliefs are born. The faith of the villages is dust now… but it will grow again… like the trees. May serenity circle on silent wings and catch the whisper of the winds.”

I turn and leave honor in my farewell as the shadows take him back… Now I shall miss him… even more.

source: Indigenous People
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Reservation Map

source: Idaho State University
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“Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here
to dispose of us as you see fit.
If I thought you were sent by the Creator,
I might be induced to think you had a right to dispose of me.
Do not misunderstand me, but understand fully
with reference to my affection for the land.
I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose.
The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who has created it.
I claim a right to live on my land
and accord you the privilege to return to yours.
Brother, we have listened to your talk coming from the father in Washington,
and my people have called upon me to reply to you.
And in the winds which pass through these aged pines
we hear the moaning of their departed ghosts.
And if the voices of our people could have been heard,
that act would never have been done.
But alas, though they stood around,
they could neither be seen nor heard.
Their tears fell like drops of rain.
I hear my voice in the depths of the forest,
but no answering voice comes back to me.
All is silent around me.
My words must therefore be few. I can say no more.
He is silent, for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.”

– Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph (ca. 1840–1904), also known as Hinmahtoo-yahlatkekht (“Thunder Rolling in the Mountains”), was hailed for his dignified leadership of the Nez Percé during settlement disputes with the United States government in the 1870s. Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Warner’s loyal patron, arranged for Joseph to pose for the sculptor in Portland, Oregon, in 1889. Warner had aspired to model Indian portraits since the early 1880s, a desire fulfilled on this trip and on another in 1891. Joseph’s impressive profile reveals alert eyes, a hawkish nose, and somewhat loose flesh that captures subtleties of light and shadow.

source: Met Museum
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Harper’s Weekly, August 16, 1890 Volume 34.

The remnant of the Nez Perces to which Joseph belongs are now on a portion of the Cherokee Reservation, purchased in 1878 from the Cherokees. It is a square containing about 91,000 acres, lying across the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, just above that which was bought for the Poncas. They have the Poncas on the east, and the Otoes and Missourias on the southeast. Kansas lies well to the north, and one crosses the big Osage Reservation when approaching it from the eastward. After their capitulation to General Miles in 1877, the remnant of the tribe, numbering 431 souls, were taken to Fort Leavenworth, where the location of their camp was so unhealthy that they lost many by disease. They were removed to their reservation on the Salt Fork in 1879, whence it has been proposed to move them again, in pursuance of the hand-to-hand policy which has affected Cherokees, Osages, and other larger nations in their gradual removal to the West before the swarming settlers. It was probably because of business relating to the further removal of the Indians that Chief Joseph came within range of our sculptor, and found himself immortalized in clay. Though he had ridden hard for many days to reach head-quarters, the old chief was fresh and alert. But, curiously enough, he found that sitting for his portrait was quite a different task from sitting a horse. Mr. Warner says that it wearied Chief Joseph exceedingly, far more than it does white men who are much less vigorous.

The Nez Perces belonged in what is now the State of Idaho, and the greater part of the tribe remained on reservations in that Territory. A few years ago several thousands were flourishing in the northern part of the Territory, having farms, schools, and churches. Other accounts make them out as debased by drink and the vices of white adventurers. A minority of the Nez Perces never agreed to the cession of their lands, and occupied the army for some months at various times in making them submit. The name given the Nez Perces by the French coureurs de bois is singularly inappropriate, as they do not mutilate their noses, and seem never to have done so as a tribe, whatever may have been the fashion in some branch of their kindred. The Sahaptins, for example, who have given the name to a congeries of tribes including the Nez Perces, are said to have bored the nose in order to carry a nose ornament like the Hindoo women and some tribes of Brazil.

Chief Joseph calls himself Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekht, and the tribe is said to use Numepo as their preferred title, though nomenclature among Indians is a parlous thing, many names at the same time and different names at different epochs being the fashion with them individually and in the mass. He is a very high type of Indian as regards brains and courage, but he possesses many of the peculiarities of the savage. His eyes are dull and his features stolid as a rule, but if a bird passes, an animal makes a sound in the bush, an insect comes within earshot or eyesight, something happens in that vacant look. Things that we do not regard have hidden meanings to him, either in connection with the weather, or by reason of superstitions which link certain results with certain appearances, or because the sight of one animal or insect has to do with the presence or the absence of another. The sculptor says that only when some beast, bird, or insect was in sight did the old chief look the warrior and the Indian. When that was gone he relapsed into the apparently unthinking state of an animal, and showed very plainly that to remain in one position while the clay was modelling itself under the artist’s fingers was a penance greater than to wait immovable for hours until game revealed itself or an enemy crept in sight.

Chief Joseph belongs to the light-colored Indians. As most people are aware, the native races vary in tint from a brown that approaches the blackness of a negro to a light coffee-color not so dark as many Europeans. The Quichuas of Peru are very black, and the Heidahs of Queen Charlotte and Blackfeet of the Saskatchewan are fair. The Pammas of Brazil are lighter than many Spaniards and Portuguese, while the Iroquois and Algonquin tribes are coppery or light brown. But what is often overlooked is the apparent unimportance of climate on the color of the Indians under the arctic circle or at the equator. Were it not for the broad plaits of hair and absence of beard, giving to Chief Joseph that curious resemblance, in our eyes, to an old woman which we see in so many Indians, the face might be that of a European. As heavy lips, as bent a nose, as high a cheek-bone, may be seen in any crowd of white men. The forehead is good, and the brain cavity ample. In sailors and woodsmen we find the same close-lipped, somewhat saturnine expression.

On the artistic side one may note how Mr. Warner has felt the building up of the cranium and jaw, and how strongly yet subtly he has modelled the texture of the face. From the inscription the marks of quotation might well be spared at the words Joseph and Nez Perce, while the word Indians itself might be criticised as redundant.

Chief Joseph, as we all know, had a claim to the Wallowa Valley in Oregon, dating from the Stevens treaty in 1855, and conceded again to him and his tribe of about 500 Indians in 1873 by General Grant, while the latter was President. Two years later the concession of June 16, 1873, was revoked, and the Wallowa Valley was thrown into the public domain along with all of Oregon west of the Snake River. In 1877 it was determined to remove the Nez Perces from Oregon to the reservation in Idaho, and General Howard reported that they had agreed to go, not willingly, but under constraint. Some whites were killed, and Chief White Bird sent word that he would not remove, whereupon an unequal war began between retreating bands of Nez Perces and companies of United States cavalry, aided by volunteers. The Indians crossed the Yellowstone Park and River, endeavoring to escape into British territory, but were followed closely by Howard, and headed off by General, then Colonel Miles. In the battle that ensued near the mouth of Eagle Creek 6 chiefs and 25 warriors were killed, and 38 men wounded. Two officers and 21 men were killed and 4 officers and 38 men wounded on the side of the pursuers. The whole camp of about 450 men, women, and children fell into Colonel Miles’s hands. General Howard reached the battle-field just in time to be present at the surrender.

Chief Joseph conducted this retreat with very extraordinary skill. He beat Colonel Gibbon with 15 officers, 146 troopers, and 34 volunteers, though with much loss of men. He stampeded General Howard’s horses and pack-train, fought Colonel Sturgis on the Yellowstone River, losing many horses, and came very near making good his retreat to British America. Of this campaign General Sherman has said: “The Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise; they abstained from scalping; let captive women go free; did not commit indiscriminate murder of peaceful families, which is usual; and fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications.” These facts only make harder the fate that awaited them, for it shows that no forbearance, no bravery and generalship, are able to win for Indians justice. The right of the Nez Perces to the Wallowa Valley was perfect, and the killing of four white men possibly but not certainly by Indians was made the pretext of hunting them down and letting them die of disease at Fort Leavenworth. By neglecting to provide means to prevent tyranny and land-grabbing on the part of its white citizens our government is constantly forced to violate the most solemn treaties, and confess itself unworthy of trust. The weakness and injustice of our dealing with Indians was never shown in a more picturesque and striking example than in our conduct toward this little section of the Nez Perces. It is only fair to say, however, that we have had recent examples in which the government realized that the nation has a duty to perform in protecting Indians against encroachments by white settlers, and the troops were used in a more honorable exploit than hunting down men with whom the nation had broken a solemn compact.

source: Indigenous People
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Chief Joseph’s Monument at Wallowa Lake, Oregon

source: Wikipedia
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Chief Joseph


Added by Jade Blackeagle

Birth: 3 Mar 1840 Wallowa County, Oregon
Death: 21 Sep 1904 (aged 64) Washington
Burial: Nez Perce Cemetery, Nespelem, Okanogan County, Washington

Nez Percé Chieftain. Born in the Wallowa Valley in what is now northeastern Oregon, son of Joseph the Elder, he was given the name Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt which loosely translates to Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain. When Joseph the Elder converted to Christianity he had his son baptized at the Lapwai Mission where he was given the Christian name by which he is best known. Up until gold was discovered on Nez Percé land, the nation had been on good terms with Americans. Old Joseph negotiated and signed an 1855 treaty that guaranteed the Nez Percé the rights to their homelands and created a Nez Percé reserve. The government wrote a second treaty in 1863, however, that took most of these traditional lands away from the Nez Percé, including the Wallowa Valley and they were left with a tenth of what they had originally been promised. Upon his father’s death in 1871, Joseph took his place as chief and shared his father’s disdain for the new treaty. The government ordered the Nez Percé bands to relocate to the new reservation but the three principle chiefs including Joseph refused to leave the Wallowa Valley. In 1873 a federal order to remove white settlers and let the Nez Percé remain in the Wallowa Valley made it appear that Joseph’s resistance was successful. The federal government reversed itself, however, and in 1877 General Oliver Howard threatened to force Joseph’s holdouts onto the new reservation.

… In 1885 Joseph and the remnants of his tribe were allowed to move to a reservation in Washington State. Joseph continued to appeal to government officials in attempts to return his people to their homelands for the rest of his life. He died in what he saw as exile, however, and was buried in the Colville Indian Cemetery on the Colville Reservation in Washington.


Added by Mike and Wendy Tamachaski

source: Find a Grave
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page updated June 18, 2020