I will fight no more forever


"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, Ta-Hool-Hool-Shute is dead. The old men are all 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."

I listened to this as a part of Caroline Kennedy's 2001 compilation A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. 

Chief Joseph's surrender was recorded and published in the November 11, 1877, issue of Harper's Weekly. He was chief of the Nimiipuu, or the Nez Perce (the name given to them by French Canadian fur trappers in the 1700's.) His people saved the Lewis and Clark expedition from death on several occasions. 

(Red Country reading list)