My people ask me for food, and I have none
to give. It is cold, and we have no blankets, no
wood. My people are starving to death.
Where is my little daughter? I do not know.
Perhaps, even now, she is freezing to death.
Hear me, my chiefs. I have fought. But
from where the sun now stands,
I will fight no more forever
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.
The Spirits only warn you twice
This is the first in a series of Native American Pages I plan on doing....
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