Chief Joseph: “I am tired of fighting.”

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“I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead.

It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death.

I want to have time to look for my children, to see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.

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.”

– Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Native American

October 5th, 1877

Sepia-toned vintage portrait of Chief Joseph wearing a traditional Native American headdress, with multiple feathers and intricate beading. He has a solemn expression, with visible lines on his forehead and cheeks, indicative of age or worry. He is also adorned with multiple strands of bead necklaces and fur over his shoulders.
Chief Joseph, 1903

Notes:

  • In 1877, the Nez Perce tribe was ordered to move to a reservation. The tribe refused to. Chief Joseph led them to Canada, fighting with the U.S. army over the entire 1,100 miles. Forty miles from the border, the tribe was trapped. After 5 days of fighting, the remaining 431 members of the tribe surrendered. This quote is from Chief Joseph’s surrender speech.
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