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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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