JANUARY 14, 1879


To obtain relief from Congress and the Department of Indian Affairs, Nez Perce Chief Joseph travelled to Washington, DC, in 1879.  The great chief had, in 1877, heroically led his band across Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, and won several battles with the army before surrendering 40 miles from the Canadian border.  Accompanied by friend and interpreter, Yellow Bull, he spoke before cabinet members, congressmen, and others.  In a speech entitled An Indian’s View of Indian Affairs, he presented a plea for a healthy place to live for his people, for food and medicine, and for their right to be considered equal to other American citizens.   He decried “good words” that don’t amount to anything and of laws that apply differently to Indians than to whites.  “Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself—and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.”

Sources:  Press Release:  “Lincoln Hall Speech, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1879, by Chief Joseph, Chief of the Nez Perce’.”  Retrieved 6/5/2019, http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/attachments/035/press_release_distribution_0359771_70177.pdf“.  Chief Joseph Speaks: Selected Statements and Speeches by the Nez Perce’ Chief,” WETA (PBS) New Perspectives on The West.  Retrieved 6/5/2019, http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/six/jospeak.htm
Photo:  Likely Orlando S. Goff (1843-1916), in 11/1877.   Public domain.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.  Contact:   http://www.friendsnezpercebattlefields.org/Battle-Bear-Paw.htm

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