Monday, November 24, 2014

A Tribute to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe


I am continuing something I started last week with a story I had seen on Facebook about a very brave man, Eugene Bullard. This week, I am doing a tribute to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe. This tribe was responsible in helping the Lewis and Clark on one of their stops during the Expedition. Here is a quote from Chief Joseph about this:

“The first white men of your people who came to our country were named Lewis and Clark. They brought many things which our people had never seen. They talked straight and our people gave them a great feast as proof that their hearts were friendly. They made presents to our chiefs and our people made presents to them. We had a great many horses of which we gave them what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return. All the Nez Perce made friends with Lewis and Clark and agreed to let them pass through their country and never to make war on white men. This promise the Nez Perce have never broken.”  


Chief Joseph (1840-1904) was a leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Tribe, who became famous in 1877 for leading his people on an epic flight across the Rocky Mountains. He was born in 1840 and he was called Joseph by Reverend Henry H. Spalding (1803-1874), who had established a mission amongst the Nez Perce in 1836. Young Joseph and his father soon returned to their traditional ways in their Wallowa homeland in Oregon. When Joseph grew up and assumed the chieftanship, he was under increasing governmental pressure to abandon his Wallowa land and join the rest of the Nez Perce on their reservation near Lapwai, Idaho. Joseph refused, saying that he had promised his father he would never leave. In 1877, these disputes erupted into violence and Joseph's band, along with other Nez Perce bands, fled across the Bitterroot Mountains into Montana, with federal troops in pursuit. Joseph was by no means the military leader of the group, yet his standing in the tribe made him the camp chief and the group's political leader. It was Joseph who finally surrendered the decimated band to federal troops near the Canadian border in Montana. Joseph and the tribe were taken to a reservation in Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma, where they remained until 1885 when they were sent to the Colville Reservation in North Central Washington. Joseph made several visits to Washington, D.C., to plead for a return to the Wallowa country, but his pleas were in vain. Joseph died in 1904 in Nespelem, Washington, of what his doctor called "a broken heart." His tomb remains in Nespelem today.


The rest of the story can be read here:



When you do a great wrong; your soul does not rest and neither does the land you steal. We came to this land, immigrants and refugees from other lands and we forcibly took what rightfully belonged to the original people. I picked this story because of what is happening to other immigrants and refugees that seek shelter in America. How dare we refuse sanctuary in a land that we took from the Native Tribes? Sure there needs to be a safe and productive way to introduce new arrivals into the fold, and yes, they should pay taxes just like us, even though the corporations and filthy rich seem to find all kinds of way to not pay their fair share...big sigh!! If we are closing our borders to immigrants, then maybe the sign on the Statue of Liberty, should read, “It’s a big lie.”


I’ll end this debate with one of many quotes from Chief Joseph which you can find here:

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 to travel... free to to to choose my own to follow the religion of my to think and talk and act for myself."  

Amen to that

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