Chief Joseph`s Surrender Speech

Chief Joseph led his people in an attempt to resist
the takeover of their lands in the Oregon Territory by
white settlers.
In 1877, the Nez Perce were ordered to move to a
reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph agreed at first. But
after members of his tribe killed a group of settlers, he
tried to flee to Canada with his followers, traveling
over 1500 miles through Oregon, Washington, Idaho,
and Montana.
Along the way they fought several battles with the
pursuing U.S. Army.
Chief Joseph spoke these words when they finally
surrendered on October 5th, 1877.
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
 For his principled resistance to the
removal, he became renowned as a
humanitarian and peacemaker.
 He was also known as Joseph the
Younger, as his predecessor was his
father, Joseph the Elder.
 His formal Native American name
translates to Thunder Rolling Down a
Having seen his warriors reduced to just
87 fighting men, having weathered the
loss of his own brother, Olikut, and having
seen many of the women and children
near starvation, Chief Joseph
surrendered to his enemy, delivering one
of the greatest speeches in American
By the fall of 1877 Chief Joseph and his
people were exhausted.
 They had come within 40 miles of the
Canadian border, reaching the Bear
Paw Mountains of Montana, but were
too beaten and starving to continue to
General Howard and the U.S. Army
 The last of Young Joseph’s tribe
Joseph’s purpose in this speech was to
stop the decimation of his people.
 He wanted no more violence, and no
more fighting, he just wanted the
remainder of his people to live.
The subject was the death of his people,
as well as the reason he no longer could
 “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 the young men who say yes or
no. He who led on the young men is
The tone of the speech is hopeless and
 “I am tired; my heart is sick and sad.
From where the sun now stands I will fight
no more forever.”
Chief Joseph uses a powerful command
of ethos by using the words “my people”
and showing ownership and command
of the tribe.
 His very name is automatic ethos, seeing
as he is a Chief.
 “My people, some of them, have run
away to the hills, and have no blankets,
no food.”
 “Hear me, My Chiefs!”
Pathos is used in basically the entire speech.
The very speech is raw, and honest, a no-holdsbarred account of what has happened to his
people, and his out take on that.
“ 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.”
He uses rhetoric to emphasize the tribes plight,
as well as everyday prose to relate not only to
the general of the US Army but to the common
people as well.
Chief Joseph doesn’t try to hide how
bad the situation is for he and his
people. He clearly states what he knows
to be happening and this makes for a
very raw and sorrowful speech, but also
honest as well.
 “I am tired of fighting.”
The use of everyday diction, simple
sentences and wrenchingly-honest
details give this speech its raw emotional
 Although the speech is short it still holds
great emotional impact.
Related flashcards

Ethnic groups in Syria

18 cards

Ethnic groups in Syria

19 cards

European Commissioners

13 cards

Create Flashcards