1400 mile journey, 1800s, border, Canada, Celebrity, Chief Joseph, exhausted, Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, Kansas, military retreat, Nez Perce, Oklahoma, Oregon, starved, Surrender, Thunder Rolling Down a Mountain, Wallowa Valley, white settlers
Chief Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904)
Chief Joseph is known for one of the greatest military retreats in history. He was born Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (Thunder Rolling Down a Mountain) but known as Joseph, after his father who was baptized in 1838, in the Wallowa Valley, the territory that became Oregon. The Nez Perce people were forced to move to a reservation in 1877. Just before the move, some followers attacked and killed several white settlers. Fearing repercussions and wanting to avoid defeat, Chief Joseph led his 700 followers on a 1,400-mile journey towards Canada. They came within 40 miles of the Canadian border but were too exhausted and starved to continue on. His group was down to 87 and Chief Joseph was forced to surrender, not wanting to lose any more men. Chief Joseph and his remaining people were escorted to Kansas, then to what became Oklahoma. In 1885, they were able to return to the Pacific Northwest. Chief Joseph died on September 21, 1904.