Chief Joseph: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies) by Vanessa Ann Gunther

By Vanessa Ann Gunther

This biography deals a chronological presentation of the most important occasions in Nez Perce historical past and within the lifetime of certainly one of their maximum leaders, Joseph.

• contains pictures of Joseph, his brother, and different people who have been favourite in his lifestyles and within the background of the Nez Perce

• offers a chronology of the main occasions in Nez Perce historical past and within the lifetime of leader Joseph

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Extra info for Chief Joseph: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)

Sample text

WILLIAM WALKER AND THE QUEST TO PROVIDE MISSIONARIES While the Nez Perce had entered St. Louis to persuade the Americans to send missionaries to them in the Columbia Plateau, it was another Indian whose actions would bring their quest to fruition. While the Nez Perce delegates were in St. Louis, they caught the attention of a devout Methodist named William Walker. Walker was a white man, but as a boy had been kidnapped by Delaware Indians and later traded to the Wyandot Indians. Walker lived among the Wyandot and eventually married a half-Wyandot woman named Catherine Rankin Walker who taught at the local mission school.

Smohalla and the Dreamer Religion Smohalla was distressed over the negative impact that white culture was having on the Indians of the region. In the Columbia Plateau, traditional and progressive Indians were beginning to divide the once united tribes of his forefathers. He felt that these divisions would eventually lead to the destruction of the Indians as a distinct cultural group. Smohalla left his tribe to meditate and determine what might bring the people back together again. It was on this quest that Smohalla had his first revelation where he was carried into heaven, met with the Creator, and was given a simple message to deliver to the people.

These traditions, or titwatitnáawit, reinforced Nez Perce ideas about where they came from and what activities that were considered acceptable within their society. For the Nez Perce, most of the spring and summer was spent gathering enough food to enable them to comfortably live through the winter. By the fall, the village groups had begun their return into the protected mountains of the region. There they could harvest fall crops and finish their preparation for the winter ahead. During the winter months, the village elders educated and entertained the young with stories about the creation of the world or that 14 CHIEF JOSEPH exemplified the cultural traditions of their people, such as the story of Cottontail Boy and Thunder, in which the idea of marriage is introduced.

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