Faye Sizemore

OLD CHIEF JOSEPH

Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Standing on this ridge… looking down…
sun on my shoulders… wind in my hair
anguish in my heart… coming unwound
The news is around his namesake town
Chief Joseph’s father can not rest here
Is it greed that makes some not care…
…Even though he is in his grave…
that a man may be pursued… still oppressed…
beyond the Vale… in the name of progress
The Nez Perce moved… pursued by the U.S. Cavalry…
pushed north and westward for fifteen hundred miles
…pursued… facing all kinds of tribulations and trials…
This is where they stopped… heartbroken and sore…
Chief Joseph said, “From where the sun now stands…
I will fight no more forever’… so tired he was of war
On his dying bed the Old Chief Joseph told his son
“Do not forget this land holds your father’s body”
Did he know that there was still a battle to be won…
Upon a grassy ridge… Chief Joseph’s father rests uneasy…
even in his grave… awaiting the bugle of the Cavalry

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.

Chief Joseph

The Post and Times Courier (South Carolina) News Item: Monday February 2, 2004: Developers want to build upscale homes on acreage adjacent to a Nez Perce cemetery that holds the grave of the famed Chief Joseph. Over a century ago, the U.S. Cavalry pursued Chief Joseph and his tribe 1,500 miles from Oregon across Idaho to Montana before the chief finally surrendered at Bear Paw, 40 miles short of the Canadian Border.