A Landing a Day

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Joseph, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on July 23, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a two-or-three-times a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  The curse continues with yet another western OSer . . . OR; 72/61; 2/10 (1/9); 9; 153.7.   It seems like 150 is now months away . . .

Anyway, here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Joseph and Enterprise as well as Wallowa Lake (the unnamed lake just south of Joseph):


Speaking of Wallowa Lake, I landed in the watershed of the Wallowa R (2nd hit); on to the Grande Ronde R (3rd hit); on to the Snake (70th hit); to the Columbia (137th hit).  More locally, I landed in the Pine Tree Gulch watershed (my 15th watershed with the word “Pine” in it); on to Prairie Creek (my 11th watershed with the word “Prairie” in it).

Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed in an arid Martian landscape:


Here’s an expanded, oblique GE shot looking SE across Wallowa Lake that shows I did not land on Mars, but rather in a lovely corner of Oregon:

Speaking of a corner of Oregon, it is the NE corner:


As already noted, I landed near the town of Joseph.  At first glance, I thought maybe Joseph was named after Joseph Smith.  Northeast Oregon is quite a ways from Salt Lake City, and I didn’t think the Mormons were big in Oregon, but who knows.  After all, I landed near Pima AZ, formerly called Smithville and named after Joseph Smith.  Pima AZ is a whopping 546 from Salt Lake City, while Joseph OR is only 418 miles away.

By the way, my thanks to the City Distance Tool on the GeoBytes website for the distance information.  While at GeoBytes, I stumbled on the fact that there is a Joseph, Utah.  Now there’s a town named after Joseph Smith!!

So, back to Joseph OR.  As you may suspect by now, it was not named after Joseph Smith.  In fact, it was named after a Chief of the Nez Perce Nation, Chief Joseph.  I found Chief Joseph to be fascinating.  I’ve done some editing, but the following is generally from Wiki:


Chief Joseph (1840 – 1904) was the chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce.  For his principled resistance to the removal of his people to a reservation, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker.

Joseph the Younger succeeded his father as chief in 1871.  Before his death, the latter counseled his son:

“My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.”

Chief Joseph commented “I clasped my father’s hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”

The Nez Perce suffered many injustices at the hands of settlers and prospectors, but out of fear of reprisal from the US military, Joseph never allowed any violence against them, instead making many concessions to them in hopes of securing peace.

Summarizing a lengthy Wiki passage:  after much tactically maneuvering & negotiations, the U.S. Army demanded that the Nez Perce relocate to a reservation in Idaho.  Joseph decided that peace was more important than his dying fathers’ wishes, but other, younger Nez Perce chiefs wanted to fight.  I’ll pick up the story here, from Wiki:

With 2,000 U.S. soldiers in pursuit, Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs led 800 Nez Perce towards freedom at the Canadian border.  For over three months, the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled their pursuers traveling 1,600 miles (2,570 km) across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

General Howard, leading the opposing cavalry, was impressed with the skill with which the Nez Perce fought, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions with no food or blankets, Chief Joseph formally surrendered.  Here are the words attributed to Chief Joseph at the formal surrender:

“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on 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 of them 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.”

His speech brought attention – and therefore credit – his way. He earned the praise of General William Tecumseh Sherman and became known in the press as “The Red Napoleon“.

Joseph’s fame did him little good. By the time Joseph surrendered more than 200 of his followers had died. His plight, however, did not end. Although he had negotiated a safe return home for his people, four hundred of the Nez Perce were taken on unheated rail cars to Fort Leavenworth in eastern Kansas to held in a prisoner-of-war campsite for eight months.  Toward the end of the following summer the surviving Nez Perce were taken by rail to a reservation in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) for ten years.  Many of them died of epidemic diseases while there.  Finally they were returned to a reservation around Kooskia, Idaho.

In 1879 Chief Joseph went to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Rutherford B. Hayes and plead the case of his people. Finally, in 1885, Chief Joseph and his followers were allowed to return to the Pacific Northwest, although many, including Chief Joseph, were taken to the Colville Indian Reservation in NW Washington, far from both the rest of their people in Idaho and their homeland in the Wallowa Valley.

In his last years Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America’s promise of freedom and equality might one day be fulfilled for Native Americans as well. An indomitable voice of conscience for the West, he died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland.  According to his doctor, he died “of a broken heart.”

Here’s a shot of the Chief with his family.  I don’t blame them for not smiling.

Moving on to some lovely scenery.  First, Wallowa Falls:


Here’s a shot of Hell’s Canyon, just south of my landing (in the “martian” landscape area):


Here’s a magnificent shot of Lake Wallowa (by Jim Dockery, on Panaramio):


I’ll close with this sunset over the Lake (taken from a similar vantage point as the above):


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

One Response to “Joseph, Oregon”

  1. Spagets said

    I personally wish Chief Joseph did not have to surrender, it was their land first after all.

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