The actuality of history
S. Cartwright "Bearracing"
This film should be reviewed in two parts; The first for its subject matter, and the second; for its cinematic qualities. The latter being irrelevant, due to the nature of its historical content.
American western films often portrayed the Native American Indians as the enemy or as uncivilized savages, but that all changed in 1970, with the release of "Little Big Man" (starring Dustin Hoffman in the title role). In each year previous, dozens and dozens of western movies had been released each year, but after 1970 and the release of Little Big Man, Hollywood decided that either it wasn't economically viable to continue making western ...view middle of the document...
Including those policies regarding "non-treaty" Indians of Oregon and Washington.
When Joseph made council with General Howard, he reluctly agreed to move his people from the Wallowas and onto the reservation in Idaho, but ended his meeting with the statement: "It is my disbelief that the Great Spirit Chief gave one kind of men the right to tell another kind of men what they must do."
General Howard took this statement, by Joseph, as a direct afront to his authority and demanded that the Nez Pearce non-treaty Indians vacate the Wallowa Valley, within 30 days, and if they were still there on day 31, this would be considered an act of war!
Though Chief Joseph advocated peace over war (sort of an early day pacifist), several young braves had taken it upon themselves to attack and kill 4 white settlers, Chief Joseph then knew that an attack, by General Howard, would happen any moment.
Rather than attempt to negotiate further, Chief Joseph gathered the 800 members (almost entirely made of elderly, women, and children) of his tribe and began a 3-month long running battle with the US Army, all in an attempt to escape the US territories and make it into Canada to join up with the Hunkpapa Medicine Chief, Sitting Bull. During their 3-month flight, the Wallowa tribe, under Chief Joseph covered 1,700 miles and the defensive tactics the Wallowas used are still taught today at West Point.
Less than 40 miles from the Canadian border, the weather turned on Joseph and the surviving Wallowas, but after only a few days of rest, believing they had several weeks before General Howard would catch up, Chief Joseph and his Wallowa tribe were attacked from the North by General Miles, something unforeseen by Chief Joseph.
The actual translation of Chief Joseph's surrender agreement...