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Chief Joseph Quotes

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Chief Joseph
1840 - September 21, 1904
Category: Leader

I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.


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.


Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work.


When an Indian fights, he only shoots to kill.


We soon found that the white men were growing rich very fast, and were greedy.


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.


I labored hard to avoid trouble and bloodshed.


I saw clearly that war was upon us when I learned that my young men had been secretly buying ammunition.


We ask to be recognized as men.


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.


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.


If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace.


I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.


I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done.


Good words will not give me back my children.


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.


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.


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