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Author Topic: END OF THE NEZ PERCE WAR: CHIEF JOSEPH SURRENDERS - 1877  (Read 25 times)
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« on: October 05, 2018, 12:40:26 am »

Lewis and Clark reported them as friendly to the Americans. They were the only Indian tribe to breed a new type of horse [the Appaloosa] They lived in peace with their neighbors, traveling from their home in the Wallowa valley east through Idaho to hunt bison with the Crow, and back again. They were called Nez Perce [although they didn't pierce their noses], and in 1877, they proved how formidable as warriors they were when they led the Army on a dance that covered almost 1,000 miles when it was done.

It started, as it usually did, over the U.S. government trying to move the Nez Perce off lands they held by treaty, very desirable lands. The Nez Perce hunted and gathered. but they also raised cattle, quite successfully. And one of the reasons they were able to do that was their land. But white settlers wanted it, and no matter how hard Joseph and his brother Ollikut tried to reason with the whites, it never worked. Finally, the inevitable happened. some young Nez Perce rode out and killed some whites. The Army came in, and in a series of battles, such as White Bird Creek, the Nez Perce, fighting from field fortifications stopped the Army cold.

MG O.O. Howard [of Reconstruction,Howard University and Cochise's surrender fame] led the Army in a pursuit across the Bitteroot Mountains and the Lolo Pass toward Montana.

The trek was not Joseph's idea, but Looking Glass' [a war chief like Ollikut]. Looking Glass, who had spent many seasons hunting with the Crow [and fighting the Crows' traditional enemies, the Sioux and Cheyenne], believed the Crow would shelter the Nez Perce and help them fight the U.S. Army [he was disappointed in both those beliefs]. The Crow turned them away.

The next plan was to flee to Canada, where Sitting Bull had fled earlier that year. But near exhaustion, while still ahead of Howard, the Indians paused to rest. It was their undoing, because Nelson Miles was closing on them from the east.

The first the Nez Perce knew of this new turn of events, was when the Army opened fire. Both Ollikut and Looking Glass were killed. When Howard came up to complete the encirclement, it was all over [although White bird and some of his band managed to sneak through the Army lines and reached Canada.

It was the next day that Joseph proclaimed he would make war no more, forever. The Nez Perce were taken back over their escape route, but were confined to a reservation away from the Wallowa Valley. Joseph made several visits to the white House to get Presidential approval for a return to his homeland. He died a failure in those efforts.

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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