words to enjoy

Chief Joseph’s speech

Maryssa introduced to us the Native American tribe that helped the Pilgrim Fathers get through their first rough winter in America.

It is my intention to deal with the history of American Indians soon. For the time being , I’ve thought of pasting here some “words of wisdom” of a great Native American chief. What do they anticipate as to the American Indian history we will deal with?

Chief Joseph was the head of the American Indian tribe of Nez Percè of Oregon.

His Indian name was “In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat“, meaning “thunder-travelling-to-lofty-mountainheights”.

Here is an extract from one of his most famous speeches.

“… I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated. If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in some country where my people will not die so fast. I would like to go to Bitter Root Valley. There my people would be healthy; where they are now they are dying. Three have died since I left my camp to come to Washington. When I think of our condition my heart is heavy. I see men of my race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down like animals. I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike on all men. If the Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If the white man breaks the law, punish him also.

Let me be a free man – free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself – and I will obey every law, or submit to penalty.

Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike – brothers of one father and one mother, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land, and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers’ hands from the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race are waiting and praying. 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.

In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat has spoken for his people”

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One thought on “Chief Joseph’s speech

  1. In this speech he talked about the bad behaviour of the white, “civilized” invaders of America towards American Native tribes, that were exterminated a little bit later, during the seventeenth century… In fact they were not reciprocated in kindness by European people…

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