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Chief Joseph Quotes

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Chief Joseph
1840 - September 21, 1904
Category: Leader

All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.


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.


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.


Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.


My people were divided about surrendering.


The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.


I did not want my people killed. I did not want bloodshed.


Words do not pay for my dead people.


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.


Our people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs which all people understand.


You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.


I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.


I cannot tell how much my heart suffered for my people while at Leavenworth.


I know that my race must change.


War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.


A chief called Lawyer, because he was a great talker, took the lead in the council, and sold nearly all the Nez Perce country.


I would give up everything rather than have the blood of white men upon the hands of my people.


My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man.


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 only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.


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