Chief Joseph Grave

Nespelem, Washington

10th St @ B St

Chief Joseph was the leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce, a Native American tribe whose homeland was the Wallowa Valley in Oregon. When the U.S. government forcibly removed them from their homeland and tried to settle them to a much smaller reservation at Lapwai, Idaho, the Nez Perce resisted. Under the leadership of Chief Joseph and others, the band attempted to head to Canada, and engaged in a number of skirmishes with the U.S. Army along the way. They were defeated after traveling almost 1,200 miles and fighting a 5-day battle just 40 miles from the Canadian border.

After the war, the surviving members of the band were sent to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and then to Oklahoma. Chief Joseph eventually was able to negotiate the tribe's return to the Pacific Northwest and the Nez Perce reservation there. However, Joseph and some of his followers not permitted to return to that reservation. He spent his last years on the Colville Reservation in Washington, becoming an eloquent spokesman for the Nez Perce and the injustices that the tribe had faced. He died in 1904 and is buried in the Nespelem Cemetery on the Colville reservation.

The Nez Perce who live on the Colville Reservation today refer to themselves as the Chief Joseph band of Nez Perce in honor of their leader.

chief joseph grave

Grave of Chief Joseph (S05A0165)

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