Quotes by Chief Joseph

We ask to be recognized as men.
- Chief Joseph
I know that my race must change.
- Chief Joseph
Words do not pay for my dead people.
- Chief Joseph
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I will speak with a straight tongue.
- Chief Joseph
The Indian race are waiting and praying.
- Chief Joseph
I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.
- Chief Joseph
My people were divided about surrendering.
- Chief Joseph
Good words will not give me back my children.
- Chief Joseph
I labored hard to avoid trouble and bloodshed.
- Chief Joseph
When an Indian fights, he only shoots to kill.
- Chief Joseph
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I want the white people to understand my people.
- Chief Joseph
I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.
- Chief Joseph
I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done.
- Chief Joseph
It does not require many words to speak the truth.
- Chief Joseph
From where the sun now stands I will fight no more.
- Chief Joseph
When my young men began the killing, my heart was hurt.
- Chief Joseph
An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward.
- Chief Joseph
I did not want my people killed. I did not want bloodshed.
- Chief Joseph
My father... had sharper eyes than the rest of our people.
- Chief Joseph
War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.
- Chief Joseph
I saw that the war could not be prevented. The time had passed.
- Chief Joseph
Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work.
- Chief Joseph
I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.
- Chief Joseph
All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.
- Chief Joseph
My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man.
- Chief Joseph
I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.
- Chief Joseph
I said in my heart that, rather than have war, I would give up my country.
- Chief Joseph
Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake.
- Chief Joseph
I cannot tell how much my heart suffered for my people while at Leavenworth.
- Chief Joseph
A man who would not love his father's grave is worse than a wild animal.
- Chief Joseph
If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace.
- Chief Joseph
We soon found that the white men were growing rich very fast, and were greedy.
- Chief Joseph
We damaged all the big guns we could, and carried away the powder and the lead.
- Chief Joseph
It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.
- Chief Joseph
The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.
- Chief Joseph
Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.
- Chief Joseph
Lawyer acted without authority from our band. He had no right to sell the Wallowa country.
- Chief Joseph
I would have given my own life if I could have undone the killing of white men by my people.
- Chief Joseph
I would give up everything rather than have the blood of white men upon the hands of my people.
- Chief Joseph
You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.
- Chief Joseph
Our people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs which all people understand.
- Chief Joseph
I saw clearly that war was upon us when I learned that my young men had been secretly buying ammunition.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- 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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- 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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph
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.
- Chief Joseph