Joseph (1840?–1904), a chief of the Nez Percé Indians. His Indian name was Hin-mah-too-yahlatkekht (“Thunder Rolling Down From the Mountain”). When his father died in 1873, he became leader of a band of Nez Percé in northeastern Oregon. Joseph was an eloquent spokesman for his people and tried through negotiation to preserve their homeland from white encroachment. When the United States tried to move the Nez Percé to a reservation in 1877, he reluctantly agreed to lead an uprising.
Joseph soon realized that the uprising could not succeed and decided to move his people to Canada. In July, 1877, the Nez Percé (about 800 in number, 500 of them women, children, and old men) began to withdraw. In all, they traveled 1,700 miles (2,700 km), defeating several army detachments along the way until trapped 30 miles (48 km) from the border. They then surrendered. Joseph lived his last years on a reservation in Washington Territory.