10 Famous Native Americans


Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, aka Joseph the Younger

Born in 1840 in what is now Oregon, Joseph the Younger (also called Chief Joseph) had some big shoes to fill. His father, Joseph the Elder, had converted to Christianity in 1838 in an attempt to make peace with white settlers. His father's efforts seemed to work, for his Nez Percé people were given land in Idaho. But in 1863, the U.S. government took the land back, and Joseph the Younger's father burned his Bible and his flag and refused to sign any new treaties. When Joseph succeeded his father as tribal chief in 1871, he clearly had to deal with a rather delicate situation. He eventually agreed to move his people to the now smaller reservation in Idaho, but never made it. They came under attack by white soldiers, fought back, and then dealt with the wrath of the government. In an impressive battle, 700 Native Americans fought 2,000 U.S. soldiers successfully until Joseph surrendered in 1877. He died in 1904 from what his doctor reported was a broken heart.