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Mar 8, 2018

"I Will Fight No More Forever" were the words Nez Perce Indian Chief Joseph spoke when surrendering his tribe to Colonel Miles at the end of a long and arduous trail of pitched battles through extremely rough country with the US Cavalry in an attempt to escape to Canada after the US Government forced the tribe to leave their homeland.

The Nez Perce War was an armed conflict that pitted several bands of the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans and their allies, a small band of the Palouse tribe led by Red Echo (Hahtalekin, famous for their Appaloosa horses, and Bald Head (Husishusis Kute), against the United States Army.

The conflict, fought between June and October 1877, stemmed from the refusal of several bands of the Nez Perce, dubbed "non-treaty Indians," to give up their ancestral lands in the Pacific Northwest and move to an Indian reservation in Idaho. This forced removal was in violation of the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla, which granted the tribe 7.5 million acres in their ancestral lands and the right to hunt and fish in lands ceded to the government. After the first armed engagements in June, the Nez Perce embarked on an arduous trek north initially to seek help with the Crow tribe. After the Crows' refusal of aid, they sought sanctuary with the Lakota led by Sitting Bull, who had fled to Canada in May 1877 to avoid capture following the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. The Nez Perce were pursued by elements of the U.S. Army with whom they fought a series of battles and skirmishes on a fighting retreat of 1,170 miles (1,880 km).

In Part Two, we'll cover the events that took place when the escaping Indians entered Yellowstone National Park, coming in contact with campers and tourists in the path of their desperate escape.

In Part Three the war heads toward a bitter and cold end after a final five-day battle fought alongside Snake Creek at the base of Montana's Bears Paw Mountains only 40 miles (64 km) from the Canada–US border. A big majority of the surviving Nez Perce represented by Chief Joseph of the Wallowa band of Nez Perce, surrendered to Brigadier Generals Oliver Otis Howard and Nelson A. Miles.[4] White Bird, of the Lamátta band of Nez Perce, managed to elude the Army after the battle and escape with an undetermined number of his band to Sitting Bull's camp in Canada. The 418 Nez Perce who surrendered, including women and children, were taken prisoner and sent by train to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.