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Anecdotes of Chief Joseph

With the death of Chief Joseph, the famous leader of the Nez Perces, the United States has lost its most celebrated Indian. Joseph, since the death of Red Cloud and Sitting Bull, has been the most discussed American Indian. He was the last of the great warrior chiefs. Descendant of a long line of fighters, chieftain, since early manhood, of the Nez Perce tribe, and followed with constant devotion by his dwindling people, Chief Joseph was the last Indian leader who dared to put up a real fight against civilization; and in his desperate Waterloo he put up a fight that gave Gen. Nelson A. Miles and Gen. O. O. Howard all they could do to nab him and crush him till he grimly buried the hatchet. Chief Joseph it was who, when the United States took away the reservation given him and his people by grant, brandished a defiant fist and after years of peace dragged the Government into one last fierce struggle between red and white, and the old chief came out of it blue, but silent. When he took up the cause of his little band again it was with the diplomacy of a vanquished man, beaten by a civilization which finally landed him in a half-dollar show at Madison Square Garden. This was a year ago, after New York society had fondled the old chief without awakening in him any enthusiasm. Now that Chief Joseph is dead, the mantle of his diluted power falls to his son, Flo-Cut, of a generation which knows little of the old-time warfare. Red Cloud, perhaps, was the most famous...

Chief Joseph’s Own Story

Chief Joseph’s Own Story: With an Introduction by the Rt. Rev. W. H. Hare, D.D., Bishop of South Dakota1 Wish that I had words at command in which to express adequately the interest with which I have read the extraordinary narrative which follows, and which I have the privilege of introducing to the readers of this Review. I feel, however, that this apologia is so boldly marked by the charming naiveté and tender pathos which characterizes the red-man, that it needs no introduction, much less any authentication; while in its smothered fire, in its deep sense of eternal righteousness and of present evil, and in its hopeful longings for the coming of a better time, this Indian chief’s appeal reminds us of one of the old Hebrew prophets of the days of the Captivity. I have no special knowledge of the history of the Nez Percés, the Indians whose tale of sorrow Chief Joseph so pathetically tells – my Indian missions lying in a part at the West quite distant from their old home and am not competent to judge their case upon its merits. The chief’s narrative is, of course, ex-parte, and many of his statements would no doubt be ardently disputed. General Howard, for instance, can hardly receive justice at his hands, so well known is he for his friendship to the Indian and for his distinguished success in pacifying some of the most desperate. It should be remembered, too, in justice to the army, that it is rarely called upon to interfere in Indian affairs until the relations between the Indians and the whites have reached...

Biography of Chief Joseph – Nez Percé

Chief Joseph. Hinmaton-yalatkit. The leader of the Nez Percé in the hostilities of 1877. His mother was a Nez Percé, his father a Cayuse, who re­ceived the name Joseph from his teacher, the missionary Spalding, who was with Dr. A. Whitman and who went to the Idaho country in the late thirties of the 19th century. Chief Joseph’s native name was Hinmaton-yalatkit (Hinmaton, `thunder’; yalatkit, ‘coming from the water up over the land.’ – Miss McBeth), but both he and his brother Ollicot were often called Joseph, as if it were a family name. Joseph was a man of fine presence and impressive features, and was one of the most remarkable Indians within the borders of the Union.

The Great War Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces, and his lieutenants, White Bird and Looking-Glass

Far in the Northwest of our country live the Chopunnish or Nez Perce Indians, a powerful tribe. Chopunnish is an Indian word, but Nez Perce is French and means pierced noses. The name comes from the fact that these Indians used to pierce their noses and wear rings in them, just as some ladies we know pierce their ears and wear fine earrings. The men of the tribe are large and tall and strong, and they are very proud and warlike. Every year they went far away, even one thousand miles, to hunt buffalo, while the women planted little patches of Indian corn and the boys rode ponies or fished for salmon in the rivers. Now and then the Nez Perce fought, as all Indians do, and their enemies were especially the Blackfeet and Snakes, but they never killed a white man. Governor Stevens, one of the first white governors, gave these Indians a large tract of land bigger than New York State, where they lived and were very happy. After a while some missionaries came to live among them and started a big school where many Indian children studied and learned the white men’s ways. Among these Indian children were two boys, the sons of a powerful chief called Old Joseph. Young Joseph and Ollicut went to the school for a short time, but while they were still very small their father became angry with another chief and moved off to Wallowa, a place far away on the Nez Perce reservation. Then the white people began to see that this country was a good place to live in,...

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