Joseph Joseph (Chief Joseph), c.1840–1904, chief of a group of Nez Percé . On his father's death in 1871, Joseph became leader of one of the groups that refused to leave the land ceded to the United States by the fraudulently obtained treaty of 1863. Faced with forcible removal (1877), Joseph and the other nontreaty chiefs prepared to leave peacefully for the reservation. Misinformed about the intentions of the Nez Percé, Gen. Oliver Otis Howard ordered an attack, which the Native Americans repulsed. Pursued by the U.S. army, the warriors, with many women and children, began a masterly retreat to Canada of more than 1,000 mi (1,609 km). The Nez Percé won several engagements, notably one at Big Hole, Mont., but 30 mi (48 km) short of the Canadian border they were trapped in a cul-de-sac by troops under Gen. Nelson A. Miles and forced to surrender. His eloquent surrender speech is one of the best-known Native American statements. The whites had assumed that Joseph, spokesman for the tribe in peacetime, was
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United States Army, Nez Perce, Chief Joseph, fraudulently obtained treaty, eloquent surrender speech