In 1877 the U.S. attempted to force the Nez Percé to move to a reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph at first agreed but later decided instead to lead 750 of his followers on a trek to Canada. During the three-month, 1,300-mile journey, he brilliantly outmaneuvered and outfought federal troops. He defeated the U.S. Army in 7 major battles before being surrounded and surrendering within 40 miles of sanctuary, the Canadian border. Subsequently the Nez Percé were moved to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). In 1885 they were relocated to the Colville Reservation in Washington state where Cheif Joseph lived for the remainder of his life.
"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. This I believe, and all my people believe the same." - Joseph Hinmaton Yalatkit, Nez Perce' Chief
"Suppose a white man should come to me and say, Joseph, I like your horses. I want to buy them. I say to him, No, my horses suit me; I will not sell them. Then he goes to my neighbor and says, Pay me money, and I will sell you Joseph's horses. The white man returns to me and says, Joseph, I have bought your horses and you must let me have them. If we sold our lands to the government, this is the way they bought them." - Joseph Hinmaton Yalatkit, Nez Perce' Chief