Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War by Daniel J. SharfsteinAfter the Civil War and Reconstruction, a new struggle raged in the Northern Rockies. In the summer of 1877, General Oliver Otis Howard, a champion of African American civil rights, ruthlessly pursued hundreds of Nez Perce families who resisted moving onto a reservation. Standing in his way was Chief Joseph, a young leader who never stopped advocating for Native American sovereignty and equal rights. Thunder in the Mountains is the spellbinding story of two legendary figures and their epic clash of ideas about the meaning of freedom and the role of government in American life.
When the United States attempted to force the Nez Perce to move to a reservation in , he reluctantly agreed. Following the killing of a group of white settlers, tensions erupted again, and Chief Joseph tried to lead his people to Canada, in what is considered one of the great retreats in military history. His formal Native American name translates to Thunder Rolling Down a Mountain, but he was largely known as Joseph, the same name his father, Joseph the Elder, had taken after being baptized in Joseph the Elder's relationship with the whites had been unprecedented. He'd been one of the early Nez Perce leaders to convert to Christianity, and his influence had gone a long way toward establishing peace with his white neighbors.
He succeeded his father Tuekakas Chief Joseph the Elder in the early s. Chief Joseph led his band of Nez Perce during the most tumultuous period in their history, when they were forcibly removed by the United States federal government from their ancestral lands in the Wallowa Valley of northeastern Oregon onto a significantly reduced reservation in the Idaho Territory. A series of violent encounters with white settlers in the spring of culminated in those Nez Perce who resisted removal, including Joseph's band and an allied band of the Palouse tribe, to flee the United States in an attempt to reach political asylum alongside the Lakota people , who had sought refuge in Canada under the leadership of Sitting Bull. At least men, women, and children led by Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs were pursued by the U. Army under General Oliver O. The skill with which the Nez Perce fought and the manner in which they conducted themselves in the face of incredible adversity earned them widespread admiration from their military opponents and the American public, and coverage of the war in U.
Chief Joseph was a leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Tribe, who became famous in for leading his people on an epic flight across the Rocky Mountains. He was born in and he was called Joseph by Reverend Henry H.
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Curator's statement: Look into Chief Josephs's face. What was he thinking and feeling at that moment? I believe this photograph is one of the most revealing portraits in our collection. You can see great dignity, pride, intelligence, and sadness in Joseph's face and body language as well as tension, and perhaps some anger. This file contains additional information such as Exif metadata which may have been added by the digital camera, scanner, or software program used to create or digitize it.