Monday, October 5, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1734


Chinook, Montana (JFK+50) A century and thirty-eight years ago today, October 5, 1877, Joseph, chief of the Nez Perce tribe, surrendered to United States Army General Nelson Appleton Miles here in the Montana territory.

The Nez Perce had been ordered out of their homeland in the Wallowa Valley of Oregon and when Chief Joseph learned that a small group of his warriors had, against his orders, massacred whites, he decided to lead his people to freedom in Canada.

Joseph's band of 300 traveled more than one-thousand miles while being pursued by 2000 soldiers of the US Army.  When the Chief learned that he was surrounded just forty miles from the US-Canadian border, he made the decision to surrender.

Joseph held his rifle in the air, dropped it on the ground, and said...

"Hear me my chiefs!  I am tired.  My heart is sick and sad.  From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

Joseph and his people were marched back to a reservation in Idaho where the Chief died in 1904.  His doctor gave the cause of death as "a broken heart."

*Hinmahtooyahlatkekt, a.k.a. Chief Joseph (1840-1904) was born in the Wallowa Valley of Oregon.  His name means "Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain."  Although his people suffered at the hands of white settlers, Chief Joseph refused to support violence against them.

James Stuart, Chief Joseph & Alice Cunningham Fletcher

Nez Perce Reservation, Idaho Territory (1889)