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Joseph - A chief of the Nez Percé Indians.  he wa handsome and learned, noted for his wisdom and oratory, and much admired and respected by white men.

Chief JosephJoseph's father was a Cayuse and his mother a Nez Percé.  he was named Joseph by his white teacher, a missionary.  his Indian name was Hinmaton-yalatkit, meaning "Thunder Coming from the Water over the Land."

Because his tribe, friendly to the whites, revolted after the treaty of 1863 which allowed white settlers to gain possession of the Wallowa Valley, they were ordered on a reservation.  The Indians put off moving and in 1877 the Indian agent insisted on their going to their new home near Fort Lapwai, idaho.

Joseph refused and with a part of his tribe made a stand at White Bird Canyon, near the Salmon River in Idaho.  Here on June 6, 1877, he was defeated by white soldiers, but most of the Indians escaped.  Joseph led his tribe toward Canada and for two months, traveling almost 2,000 miles of mountain roughness, he outfought and out maneuvered hundreds of white soldiers.  But finally, on October 5, within a day's journey of Canada, he was forced to surrender in the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana.

Joseph was taken as a prisoner to Oklahoma.  later he and his faithful followers were allowed to go to Colville Reservation in the state of Washington, where he died on September 21, 1904.  A monument of white marble was erected to him in the cemetery at Nespelim, Washington, where the remains of the great chief were buried.

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[ Appaloosa ][ Cayuse ][ Nez Percé ][ Orators ]