Today we did a beautiful hike on the Chief Joseph Trail near our campground at Wallowa Lake State Recreation Area. Photos below:
|Jim and Cooper on the Chief Joseph Trail with Wallowa Lake in the background. Our campground is at the shore of the lake.|
Old Chief Joseph, for whom Joseph, Oregon was named, was a leader of the Wallowa Nez Perce Indians, one of the first Nez Perce converts to Christianity, and an advocate of peace with whites. Joseph was his Christian name; his Nez Perce name was Tuekakas. In 1855 Joseph signed a treaty that set up a Nez Perce reservation of over 7 million acres in Oregon, Idaho and Montana in return for an assurance that whites would never intrude upon the Wallowa Valley.Eight years later and following a local gold rush, a new treaty reducing the reservation to 1/10 its size was presented. Feeling deceived, Old Chief Joseph renounced Christianity and declined to sign the treaty or leave the Wallowa valley.
When Old Chief Joseph died, his son became chief; an army general threatened to attack if the Nez Perce did not move. Young Joseph, also a peace advocate, was forced into a battle. He eventually surrendered and, along with 400 of his followers, was sent via rail (and dismal conditions) to Forth Leavenworth, Kansas, and held as prisoners for 8 months. Other Nez Perce were taken by rail to a reservation in Oklahoma. Some were eventually allowed to return to the Pacific North West, but not to the Wallowa Valley.