Tag Archives: History (Nez Percé leader) – Chief Joseph

Quotations: CHIEF JOSEPH (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé leader. (5 Quotes).

FEATURE image: Portrait of Chief Joseph in native dress with ornaments, 1900, by Lee Moorhouse (1850–1926). Public Domain.

Somebody has got our horses. Reaction to violation of surrender treaty terms by U.S. Government.

“When the terms of surrender were violated by the government, [Chief] Joseph did not dig up the tomahawk and go on the warpath again…. He…. spoke with a straight tongue , and was a gentleman of his word. Nor did he blame [Maj. Gen. O. O.] Howard or [Col. Nelson A.] Miles for what his people suffered. He remarked only the above. (Quoted in Saga of Chief Joseph, H. A. Howard, University of Nebraska Press, 1978, p. 348.)

My son, never forget my dying words, this country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and mother. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé. To his son on defending his homeland and people.

Gravesite of Chief Joseph, Nez Percé cemetery, Nespelem, Okanogan Co., Washington. Author’s photograph, 1993.

If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect him to grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé, North American Review, Cedar Falls, Iowa, April 1879.

We love the land. It is our home. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé, November 1876.

Suppose a white man goes to my neighbor and says to him, ‘Joseph has some good horses. I want to buy them, but he refuses to sell.’ My neighbor answers, ‘Pay me the money, and I will sell you Joseph’s horses.’ The white man returns to me and says, ‘Joseph, I have bought your horses and you must let me have them.’ If we sold our lands to the government, this is the way they were bought. Chief Joseph (c.1840-1904), Nez Percé, November 1876.