Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and thoughts by Chief Joseph on love, wisdom, violence, humanity, freedom, speeches, writings and poems.

88 Top Chief Joseph Quotes That Will Inspire You To Stand For Your Rights

Quick Facts

Famous As: Nez Perce leader

Born On: March 3, 1840

Died On: September 21, 1904

Born In: Wallowa River

Died At Age: 64

Chief Joseph, or Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, was the spearhead of Wallowa band of ‘Nez Perce’, a primitive Red Indian native tribe of America. He led the revolt against the United States federal government, which forced them to leave their ancestral lands. This led to a ferociously violent period in contemporary history of the United States. After a series of blood splurged events, Joseph pleaded for political asylum and eventually found refuge in Canada. Despite the move, the U.S army sent the highly skillful and admirable leader Nez Perce in pursuit of the band. The media glorified this war between the two rivals, Joseph and the Nez Perce, which became highly sought-after in various newspaper and magazines. This developed the stature of Joseph as a renowned humanitarian and peacemaker. Despite this stature, many critics believed his image overshadowed the true colors of Joseph. Many would term Joseph as the ‘Red Napoleon’. Various theatrical adaptations have been attempted while paying tribute to Joseph and his speeches. The most prominent of them being ‘I Will Fight No More Forever’ starring Ned Romero. Let us go through some of the most enthralling quotes and sayings from this legendary rebel in history of United States, giving us an insight about his thoughts, work and life. Following are noteworthy quotes and thoughts by Chief Joseph.
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I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.

Chief Joseph

It does not require many words to speak the truth.

Chief Joseph

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.

Chief Joseph

It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.

Chief Joseph

The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.

Chief Joseph

I believe much trouble would be saved if we opened our hearts more.

Chief Joseph

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing.

Chief Joseph

Let me be a free man - free to travel, free to stop, free to work.

Chief Joseph

Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.

Chief Joseph

The first white men of your people who came to our country were named Lewis and Clark. They brought many things that our people had never seen. They talked straight. These men were very kind.

Chief Joseph

We did not know there were other people besides the Indian until about one hundred winters ago, when some men with white faces came to our country.

Chief Joseph

It required a strong heart to stand up against such talk, but I urged my people to be quiet and not to begin a war.

Chief Joseph

We had a great many horses, of which we gave Lewis and Clark what they needed, and they gave us guns and tobacco in return.

Chief Joseph

When my young men began the killing, my heart was hurt.

Chief Joseph

Words do not pay for my dead people.

Chief Joseph

I cannot tell how much my heart suffered for my people while at Leavenworth.

Chief Joseph

An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward.

Chief Joseph

Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake.

Chief Joseph

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.

Chief Joseph

From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more, forever.

Chief Joseph

I will speak with a straight tongue.

Chief Joseph

I want the white people to understand my people.

Chief Joseph

Good words will not give me back my children.

Chief Joseph

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.

Chief Joseph

My father... had sharper eyes than the rest of our people.

Chief Joseph

We were like deer. They were like grizzly bear.

Chief Joseph

We had good white friends who advised us against taking the war path. My friend and brother, Mr. Chapman, told us just how the war would end.

Chief Joseph

We gave up some of our country to the white men, thinking that then we could have peace. We were mistaken. The white man would not let us alone.

Chief Joseph

All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.

Chief Joseph

We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them. They were not; and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them.

Chief Joseph

I pressed my father's hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land.

Chief Joseph

I said in my heart that, rather than have war, I would give up my country.

Chief Joseph

The Indian race are waiting and praying.

Chief Joseph

I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.

Chief Joseph

The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the neasure of our bodies are the same

Chief Joseph

We ask to be recognized as men.

Chief Joseph

I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.

Chief Joseph

I will fight no more forever

Chief Joseph

I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done.

Chief Joseph

The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it... Do not misunderstand me, but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with it as I chose. The one who has the right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land and accord you the privilege to live on yours.

Chief Joseph

The Great Spirit Chief who rules above all will smile upon this land... and this time the Indian race is waiting and praying.

Chief Joseph

The white men told lies for each other. They drove off a great many of our cattle. Some branded our young cattle so they could claim them.

Chief Joseph

My people were divided about surrendering.

Chief Joseph

We live, we die, and like the grass and trees, renew ourselves from the soft earth of the grave. Stones crumble and decay, faiths grow old and they are forgotten, but new beliefs are born. The faith of the villages is dust now... but it will grow again... like the trees.

Chief Joseph

All men were made brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born free should be content when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.

Chief Joseph

When the last deer disappears into the morning mist, When the last elk vanishes from the hills, When the last buffalo falls on the plains, I will hunt mice for I am a hunter and I must have my freedom.

Chief Joseph

I do not believe that the Great Spirit Chief gave one kind of men the right to tell another kind of men what they must do.

Chief Joseph

General Howard informed me, in a haughty spirit, that he would give my people 30 days to go back home, collect all their stock, and move onto the reservation.

Chief Joseph

We soon found that the white men were growing rich very fast, and were greedy.

Chief Joseph

My father was the first to see through the schemes of the white man.

Chief Joseph

I would give up everything rather than have the blood of white men upon the hands of my people.

Chief Joseph

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace.

Chief Joseph

I know that my race must change.

Chief Joseph

I labored hard to avoid trouble and bloodshed.

Chief Joseph

A man who would not love his father's grave is worse than a wild animal.

Chief Joseph

For a short time we lived quietly. But this could not last. White men had found gold in the mountains around the land of winding water.

Chief Joseph

Lawyer acted without authority from our band. He had no right to sell the Wallowa country.

Chief Joseph

A chief called Lawyer, because he was a great talker, took the lead in the council, and sold nearly all the Nez Perce country.

Chief Joseph

We damaged all the big guns we could, and carried away the powder and the lead.

Chief Joseph

Governor Isaac Stevens of the Washington Territory said there were a great many white people in our country, and many more would come; that he wanted the land marked out so that the Indians and the white man could be separated.

Chief Joseph

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace.....Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.......Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade....where I 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 the penalty.

Chief Joseph

We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God. We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about the Great Spirit. We do not want to learn that.

Chief Joseph

I am ready to talk today. I have been in a great many councils, but I am no wiser. We are all sprung from a woman, although we are unlike in many things. We can not be made over again. You are as you were made, and as you were made you can remain. We are just as we were made by the Great Spirit, and you can not change us ; then why should children of one mother and one father quarrel ? — why should one try to cheat the other ? I do not believe that the Great Spirit Chief gave one kind of men the right to tell another kind of men what they must do.

Chief Joseph

We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts; If he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home. This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

Chief Joseph

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 another, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all.

Chief Joseph

Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other then we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike - brothers of one father and 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 upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope 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.

Chief Joseph

When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my own race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down like animals.

Chief Joseph

The earth is our mother. She should not be disturbed by hoe or plough. We want only to subsist on what she freely gives us.

Chief Joseph

All people should be treated the same way on earth.

Chief Joseph

We do not want churches. They will teach us to quarrel about God.

Chief Joseph

We are going by you without fighting if you will let us, but we are going by you anyhow!

Chief Joseph

Big name often stands on small legs.

Chief Joseph

The earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was. The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it.

Chief Joseph

The eye tells what the tongue would hide.

Chief Joseph

Look twice at a two-faced man.

Chief Joseph

It takes few words to tell the truth.

Chief Joseph

Good words do not last long unless they amount to something.

Chief Joseph

I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.

Chief Joseph

Our chiefs are killed. . . . The little children are freezing to death. . . . My people have no blankets, no food. . . . My heart is sick and sad. . . . I will fight no more forever.

Chief Joseph

You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.

Chief Joseph

When an Indian fights, he only shoots to kill.

Chief Joseph

I would have given my own life if I could have undone the killing of white men by my people.

Chief Joseph

I saw that the war could not be prevented. The time had passed.

Chief Joseph

I saw clearly that war was upon us when I learned that my young men had been secretly buying ammunition.

Chief Joseph

We gathered all the stock we could find, and made an attempt to move. We left many of our horses and cattle in Wallowa. We lost several hundred in crossing the river.

Chief Joseph

I did not want my people killed. I did not want bloodshed.

Chief Joseph

War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.

Chief Joseph

Our people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs which all people understand.

Chief Joseph