This cache is placed near a nice bronze statue on the Main Street of Joseph.
The statue is of Chief Joseph the Younger (Hinmatoowyalahtq'it), born March 3, 1840, the most well known Chief Joseph. This entire county was the place he called home. He even welcomed others to it. As white settlers came into the county, Chief Joseph and his tribe of the Nez Perce welcomed them with open arms. In fact, they helped the settlers and would come to their homes and eat meals with them, play with their children, and teach them games. However, when MORE people wanted to take over the County, the U.S. Government stepped in and tried to put all the Nez Perce onto a reservation. Some dissatisfied young warriors (you know how impulsive young people can be) went out and killed some settlers. Desperate, the tribe of 800 made a run for Canada, with the Army under the command of O.O. Howard (Yes, the mountain is named after him) in hot pursuit. Several battles ensued. After a run of 1,100 miles through Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, the tribe was captured, only 40 miles from safety in Canada. A five-day fight followed. However, the Nez Perce did not prevail. The remaining 431 individuals were forced to surrender. Following is Chief Joseph's famous speech of surrender:
"I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohulhulsote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead.
It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
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."
The army forced the tribe to board a train bound for Kansas to be held prisoner in a war campsite. From here, they were taken to a reservation in Oklahoma. Many died of epidemics here. Eventually, the ones left of the tribe were taken to the Coville Indian Reservation north of Spokane, where they were often in conflict with other tribes, to live out their lives. They never again saw their beloved home, although Joseph pleaded incessently with the Government. He eventually died in September of 1904, 64 years of age, of what his doctor said was "a broken heart." Thus ended perhaps the saddest story of Wallowa County history.
Think of this as you enjoy visiting or living in this County...