Saturday, October 1, 2011

"I will fight no more forever"

"I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are all killed. Looking Glass is dead....The old men are all 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 food. No one knows where they are....I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them 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

"The Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise. They abstained from scalping; let captive women go free; did not commit indiscriminate murder of peaceful families, which is usual, and fought with almost scientific skill....Nevertheless, they would not settle down on lands set apart for them...and when commanded by proper authority, they began resistance by murdering persons in no manner connected with their alleged grievances....They should never again be allowed to return to Oregon."
-William Tecumseh Sherman

Then, Joseph and his people were loaded onto the train. They were not going home, they were now told, but far away, into exile in the northeastern corner of Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma -- nearly 2,000 miles from their beloved Wallowa Valley. Once there, they found conditions unsanitary, medicine scarce. Sixty-eight of them perished in the first year alone. Soon, they had a cemetery set aside solely for babies, with 100 graves.

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