Chief Joseph was the oldest son of Old Joseph. In 1877 Chief Joseph assumed his role as chief and leader over the Nez Perce Indians, and their famouse march in 1877.
Chief Joseph agreed to that his Nez PerceŽ- tribe voluntarily would move from their home in the Wallowa valley to a reservation in Idaho. But some of the younger Indians marched out on a plundering expedition. The result to that was that the cavallry were sent out against the tribe. Joseph led his warriors on a succession of raids against the soldiers, but he also knew that the only way for the tribe to survive was to escape to Canada. Under the long journey to Canada they repetedly fought back the cavallry attacks. But finally they had to surrender when they were only 50km from the Canadian border. The Nez PerceŽIndians were sent to a reservation were many of them died from malaria and starvation. Chief Joseph tried every possible appeal to the federal authorities to return the Nez perceŽto the land of their ancestors.
In 1879 Chief Joseph held a speech at Lincoln Hall, Washington, D.C. Were he argued for the same civil liberties granted every American citizen.
"I have heard
talk, and talk..."
" I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country, now overun by the white men. Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am TIRED of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises.
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.
I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more. I will tell you in my way how the Indians sees things. The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but it does not require many words to speak the truth.
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 backwards 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 my self."
According to the
reservation doctor, Chief Joseph died
] [ Black Hawk ] [ Geronimo
] [ Crazy Horse ] [ Chief
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