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Chief Joseph Quotes
A chief called Lawyer, because he was a great talker, took the lead in the council, and sold nearly all the Nez Perce country.
A man who would not love his father's grave is worse than a wild animal.
All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.
An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward.
For a short time we lived quietly. But this could not last. White men had found gold in the mountains around the land of winding water.
From where the sun now stands I will fight no more.
General Howard informed me, in a haughty spirit, that he would give my people 30 days to go back home, collect all their stock, and move onto the reservation.
Good words will not give me back my children.
Governor Isaac Stevens of the Washington Territory said there were a great many white people in our country, and many more would come; that he wanted the land marked out so that the Indians and the white man could be separated.
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.
I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.
I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.
I cannot tell how much my heart suffered for my people while at Leavenworth.
I did not want my people killed. I did not want bloodshed.
I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done.
I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.
I know that my race must change.
I labored hard to avoid trouble and bloodshed.
I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.
I pressed my father's hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land.
I said in my heart that, rather than have war, I would give up my country.
I saw clearly that war was upon us when I learned that my young men had been secretly buying ammunition.
I saw that the war could not be prevented. The time had passed.
I want the white people to understand my people.
I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.
I will speak with a straight tongue.
I would give up everything rather than have the blood of white men upon the hands of my people.
I would have given my own life if I could have undone the killing of white men by my people.
If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace.
It does not require many words to speak the truth.
It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.
It required a strong heart to stand up against such talk, but I urged my people to be quiet and not to begin a war.
Lawyer acted without authority from our band. He had no right to sell the Wallowa country.
Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work.
My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man.
My father... had sharper eyes than the rest of our people.
My people were divided about surrendering.
Our people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs which all people understand.
Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake.
The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.
The first white men of your people who came to our country were named Lewis and Clark. They brought many things that our people had never seen. They talked straight. These men were very kind.
The Indian race are waiting and praying.
The white men told lies for each other. They drove off a great many of our cattle. Some branded our young cattle so they could claim them.
Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.
War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.
We ask to be recognized as men.
We damaged all the big guns we could, and carried away the powder and the lead.
We did not know there were other people besides the Indian until about one hundred winters ago, when some men with white faces came to our country.
We gathered all the stock we could find, and made an attempt to move. We left many of our horses and cattle in Wallowa. We lost several hundred in crossing the river.
We gave up some of our country to the white men, thinking that then we could have peace. We were mistaken. The white man would not let us alone.
We had a great many horses, of which we gave Lewis and Clark what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return.
We had good white friends who advised us against taking the war path. My friend and brother, Mr. Chapman, told us just how the war would end.
We soon found that the white men were growing rich very fast, and were greedy.
When an Indian fights, he only shoots to kill.
When my young men began the killing, my heart was hurt.
Words do not pay for my dead people.
You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.
Chief Joseph Biography:
Nationality: Native American
Born: March 3, 1840
Died: September 21, 1904
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