Top 100 Quotes & Sayings by Chief Joseph

Explore popular quotes and sayings by an American leader Chief Joseph.
Chief Joseph

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, Young Joseph, or Joseph the Younger, was a leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce, a Native American tribe of the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States, in the latter half of the 19th century. He succeeded his father Tuekakas in the early 1870s.

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A man who would not love his father's grave is worse than a wild animal.
My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man.
A chief called Lawyer, because he was a great talker, took the lead in the council, and sold nearly all the Nez Perce country. — © Chief Joseph
A chief called Lawyer, because he was a great talker, took the lead in the council, and sold nearly all the Nez Perce country.
You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.
Governor Isaac Stevens of the Washington Territory said there were a great many white people in our country, and many more would come; that he wanted the land marked out so that the Indians and the white man could be separated.
I said in my heart that, rather than have war, I would give up my country.
I did not want my people killed. I did not want bloodshed.
From where the sun now stands I will fight no more.
We had a great many horses, of which we gave Lewis and Clark what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return.
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.
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.
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.
All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. — © Chief Joseph
All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.
Words do not pay for my dead people.
I saw that the war could not be prevented. The time had passed.
Our people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs which all people understand.
Good words will not give me back my children.
I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.
I saw clearly that war was upon us when I learned that my young men had been secretly buying ammunition.
The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.
I cannot tell how much my heart suffered for my people while at Leavenworth.
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.
Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.
It does not require many words to speak the truth.
Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake.
My people were divided about surrendering.
When an Indian fights, he only shoots to kill.
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.
General Howard informed me, in a haughty spirit, that he would give my people 30 days to go back home, collect all their stock, and move onto the reservation.
When my young men began the killing, my heart was hurt.
I want the white people to understand my people.
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.
War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.
I know that my race must change.
I would give up everything rather than have the blood of white men upon the hands of my people.
Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work.
I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.
I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more. — © Chief Joseph
I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.
I will speak with a straight tongue.
We ask to be recognized as men.
Lawyer acted without authority from our band. He had no right to sell the Wallowa country.
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.
An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward.
I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.
I labored hard to avoid trouble and bloodshed.
My father... had sharper eyes than the rest of our people.
I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done.
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. — © Chief Joseph
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.
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.
We soon found that the white men were growing rich very fast, and were greedy.
We damaged all the big guns we could, and carried away the powder and the lead.
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.
I would have given my own life if I could have undone the killing of white men by my people.
I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.
It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.
The Indian race are waiting and praying.
If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace.
If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. 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 think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.
I do not believe that the Great Spirit Chief gave one kind of men the right to tell another kind of men what they must do.
I am tired of talk that comes to nothing It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. It does not require many words to speak the truth.
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