Saga of Chief Joseph

Saga of Chief Joseph

Saga of Chief Joseph

Saga of Chief Joseph


In Saga of Chief Joseph, Helen Addison Howard has written the definitive biography of the great Nez Perce chief, a diplomat among warriors. In times of war and peace, Chief Joseph exhibited gifts of the first rank as a leader for peace and tribal liberty. Following his people's internment in Indian Territory in 1877, Chief Joseph secured their release in 1885 and led them back to their home country. Fiercely principled, he never abandoned his quest to have his country, the Wallowa Valley, returned to its rightful owners. The struggle of the Nez Perces for the freedom they considered paramount in life constitutes one of the most dramatic episodes in Indian history.

This completely revised edition of the author's 1941 version (titled War Chief Joseph) presents in exciting detail the full story of Chief Joseph, with a reevaluation of the five bands engaged in the Nez Perce War, told from the Indian, the white military, and the settler points of view. Especially valuable is the reappraisal, based on significant new material from Indian sources, of Joseph as a war leader.

The new introduction by Nicole Tonkovich explores the continuing relevance of Chief Joseph and the lasting significance of Howard's work during the era of Angie Debo, Alice Marriott, and Muriel H. Wright.


One of the most romantic and important figures in the history of the Pacific Northwest is Chief Joseph, the reluctant but highly effective leader of the Nez Perce uprising of 1877. He has been called the “Indian Napoleon.” Endowed with unusual abilities, well informed in Indian lore, gifted with a forceful physique and a magnetic personality, Chief Joseph was by nature destined to be the leader of his people in their futile struggle against the encroachments of the whites.

The tragic and dramatic story of Chief Joseph has never been told in its fullness. Many have written about him, dwelling upon some particular episode in his eventful life. He has been the subject of several magazine articles, and he moves across the pages of many a book on Northwest history. a few have endeavored to set forth his story in more completeness, but such works have been open to the criticism of inaccuracy and partiality. Now for the first time serious-minded and well-trained students have set themselves to the task of telling a story that needs to be told.

Mr. Dan McGrath, whose parents were witnesses of some of the stirring events of those times, assisted in the assembling of the necessary historical data. Miss Helen Addison Howard, also a native of the Northwest and a historian in her own right, began this project several years ago. She has added new material to the work of her collaborator and has done the final writing of the original manuscript. Deliberately and conscientiously, the author has sought to tell the story of Chief Joseph with strict historical accuracy and in all of its details. Every known source bearing upon this episode has . . .

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