Source Review of Chief Joseph's Speech 'An Indian View of Indian Affairs'
582 Words2 Pages
Primary source review: Chief Joseph's speech "An Indian view of Indian affairs"
Chief Joseph's speech "An Indian view of Indian affairs" is a transcription of the speech of the great Indian warrior, based upon his alleged statements about the state of Indian-white relations. It is thus a second-hand source to some degree, because Chief Joseph never learned to speak English, and his speech is only transmitted through a translation. Joseph mourns the duplicity of the white man, defends his tribe's actions, and mourns the death of his people. He portrays his people as a people of peace who, after they realized that resistance against the white man was futile, chose to give up their guns. However, they were displaced, time and time again, after the white man grew greedier and desired the profit and gold that could be gained from the territories where his people lived.
The significance of the source is that it is one of the few documents that give a window upon the thoughts and belief systems of the Native Americans. Chief Joseph was the leader of the Nez Perce, a Plains Indian tribe. Several passages of the speech are heartbreaking, such as when Chief Joseph mourns the fact that he will not be able to live and die in the land where his own father, the former Chief is buried, saying that only a wild beast could not feel sorrow at his plight. The intense connection to the land felt by the Native American tribe is suggested in the wording, as is the fundamental desire not to