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Research Papers on Chief Joseph

Research papers on Chief Joseph illustrate that he was one of the most brilliant Native American leaders to face the encroaching white settlers. Some of the aspects of Chief Joseph that should be brought out in your research paper are:

  1. Chief Joseph believed in peace rather than war
  2. Chief Joseph was forced into armed conflict with the white army
  3. Chief Joseph executed one of the most brilliant retreats in military history

Chief Joseph research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

Chief Joseph inherited his name from his father, Joseph the Elder, who was one of the first Nez Perce converts to Christianity and also an active supporter of the tribe’s long-standing peace with the white man.  Joseph’s father had even helped to set up a reservation that stretched from Oregon to Idaho.  But in 1863, following a gold rush that crossed into Nez Perce borders, the federal government took back over six million acres of that land and relegated the Nez Perce people to a reservation in Idaho that was approximately one tenth the size it had been.  Chief JosephThat course of events caused Joseph the Elder to renounce his association with the Americans and he refused to move his people out of Oregon.  When his father died in 1871, Chief Joseph was elected to succeed him.  He also inherited an ever-worsening situation between his people and the white man who had begun to spill onto Nez Perce land in increasing numbers. 

The US vs Chief Joseph

The federal government continued to try and force the Nez Perce off their land, and Chief Joseph remained staunch in his resistance.  In 1877, after the latest in a series of broken promises, the government threatened a cavalry attack.  Opposed to war, and believing resistance to be futile, Chief Joseph began to lead his people to Idaho.  However, a group of twenty Nez Perce warriors were enraged at the injustice and attacked white settlements and killed several white settlers. This act thrust the tribe into war with the white man.  The tribe of about seven hundred, led spiritually by Chief Joseph and strategically by his brother Olikut, fought valiantly against over two thousand U.S. soldiers.  The two brothers received most of the credit for orchestrating what is known as one of the most brilliantly executed retreats in American history.  Chief Joseph led the tribe through over 1,500 miles of mountainous terrain in an attempt to evade U.S. troops.  When evasion was impossible, the tribe fought bravely to stave off the U.S. troops, succeeding at many a turn but, eventually the strain on the tribe was too great and on October 5, 1877, after the loss of many of the tribe’s top chiefs, Chief Joseph formally surrendered, in the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana, just forty miles short of the safety of the Canadian border

Chief Joseph and Peace

Given his aversion to war and violence, it is quite fitting that Chief Joseph is best known for his orchestration of a valiant retreat and not an attack.  If Chief Joseph was guilty of anything, it was his refusal to give up the belief that men of all races could live happily and freely together, on the same land, under the same set of rules.  Chief Joseph spent the later years of his life confined to a reservation, but continued to make many eloquent speeches against the injustice of the United States toward his people and held out hope that Native Americans would one day be treated equally.

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