That All People May Be One People, Send Rain to Wash the Face of the Earth

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9780945519157: That All People May Be One People, Send Rain to Wash the Face of the Earth

Famed Nez Perce leader and orator Chief Joseph speaks of the earth's natural world, relationships among peoples, justice, war and his own life. His truthful, wise and gracefully spoken words were first recorded during an 1879 post-Nez Perce War interview in Washington, D.C., and first printed in the North American Review. What he said to the world then remains equally profound today.

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From the Inside Flap:

In 1805, Nez Perce Indians welcomed to their homeland a small party of sick and starving men led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. "We are poor, but our hearts are good," Nez Perce chiefs advised Clark, as recorded in his journal. While the Nez Perces were "the most friendly, honest, and ingenious people that we have seen in the course of our voyage and travels," according to expedition member Sergeant Gass' records, and while their existence may have been humble, they were not poor. Their territory spanned from the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana to the Wallowas of eastern Oregon. Their region was rich with fish, game, roots, berries, and the spiritual and cultural heritage of their ancestors. Within the next seventy-two years, however, the Nez Perces' homeland would be reduced by ninety-five percent and its people divided and indeed, in a much truer sense, poor. The culminating event of this process was the four-month long, 1300-mile Nez Perce War of 1877. While the war was waged largely under the leadership of Chief Looking Glass, it was In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder-Traveling-Over-The-Mountains), known to whites as Chief Joseph, whose surrender forty miles from the sanctuary of Canada closed the war. "Our chiefs are killed," he reportedly said,"...It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. Some of my people have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are--perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.

Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad."

In 1879, Chief Joseph journeyed to Washington D.C. to attempt to negotiate a return to his homeland for those Nez Perces who had survived the war and were being kept on a reservation in Oklahoma. While in Washington, he granted reporters an interview, the contents of which comprises the text of this book. This, then, is Chief Joseph's own story as given through an interpreter and first reported in the North American Review, April 1879. Readers today, as then, find herein truths of America's past and messages for America's future.

From the Back Cover:

"What I have to say will come from my heart, and I will speak with a straight tongue. Ah-cum-kin-i-ma-me-hut (the Great Spirit) is looking at me and will hear me."

Thus began Nez Perce Chief In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat, Thunder-Traveling-Over-the-Mountains, as he addressed a group of interviewers during an 1879 trip to Washington D.C. Two years after the extraordinary saga of the Nez Perce War, In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat, know to most as Chief Joseph, was, with his fellow survivors of the war, a prisoner. Yet, with great dignity, clarity and eloquence, he spoke of his life, of promises made and broken, of humankind's relationship to the earth, and of the oneness of all peoples.

We find Chief Joseph's words a true story from our common past and a message resonating deep tones of wisdom into our future.

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Joseph, Nez Perce Chief
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