Biography of Chief Joseph
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it in Americanist orthography, popularly known as Chief Joseph, or Young Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904) succeeded his father Tuekakas (Chief Joseph the Elder) as the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce, a Native American tribe indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in what is today the State of Oregon in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.
He led his band during the most tumultuous period in their contemporary history when they were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the Wallowa Valley by the United States federal government and forced to move onto an reservation in Lapwai, Idaho. A series of events which culminated in episodes of violence led the those Nez Perce who resisted removal including Joseph's band and an allied band of the Palouse tribe to take flight to attempt to reach political asylum, ultimately with the Sioux chief Sitting Bull in Canada.
They were pursued by the United States Army in a campaign led by General Oliver O. Howard. This epic 1,170 mile fighting retreat by the Nez Perce became known as the Nez Perce War. The skill in which the Nez Perce fought and the manner in which they conducted themselves in the face of incredible adversity led to widespread admiration amongst their military adversaries and the American public.
Coverage of the war in United States newspapers led to widespread recognition of Joseph and the Nez Perce. For his principled resistance to the removal, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker.