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Chief Joseph, Nez Perces, Fort Leavenworth 

Chief Joseph


Born: April, 1840 near the Lapwai mission
Died: September 21, 1904 in Nespelem, Washington's Colville reservation

    Chief Joseph of the Lower Nez Perces band of the Wallowa Valley who believed  and lived in basic peace and harmony with the settlers     

     Peace and harmony changed for Chief Joseph on May 1877 when the Army gave orders to the Lower Nez Perce chiefs that they had exactly 30 days to move onto the Lapwai reservation

    What started  this catastrophic chain of events was the retaliation of a revengeful  young Nez Perce warrior for the death of his father by a white mans hand.   This forever in the eyes of the army doomed the Lower Nez Perce bands.   Chief Joseph and his people were now in grave danger

    Leaving in June for fear of Army retaliation Chief Joseph lead the Nez Perce Indians through a gauntlet of Cavalry justice as they ran for their lives.   The hardships were devastating, cruel and deadly.   The refugee band of  Chief Joseph was being destroyed by all kinds a attrition, hardships and Cavalry justice

    By September the band of Chief Joseph traveled over 1600 miles starting out with 150 warriors and 550 women old men and children.    By the time of surrender, the refugee band of Chief Joseph consisted of 79 warriors and 350 women old men and children.  The Cavalry was not to be eluded with out severe penalty  

    Chief Joseph realizing his people would be total destroyed if they continued to run the gauntlet surrendered on October 5 to Colonel Miles  

    The surrender of Chief Joseph was a historical event leading to his famous speech  remembered throughout history, ...I will fight no more forever

    Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce band was taken to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and there lived a life of tragedy until 1885 when the band was again broken up and relocated for further isolation of this Indian family

    This relocation sent 118 Indians to the Lapwai reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph and 149 other Nez Perces were sent to the Colville reservation in the Washington Territory

     It has been said that Chief Joseph died of a broken heart deprived of  never again being allowed to live in the Wallowa Valley where his tribal roots ran so deep and his father and family were buried

     The loss of Chief Joseph and his family is a loss to us all  

 
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