Page:The Indian Dispossessed.pdf/86

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THE NEZ PERCES

"The line was made as I wanted it; not for me, but my children that will follow me; there is where I live, and there is where I want to leave my body. The land on the other side of the line is what we gave to the Great Father." Joseph, Nez Perce Chief.

WITH many words of friendship the Nez Perce chiefs, speaking in Indian council forty-five years ago, hailed the longdelayed ratification of the treaty which gave to the white man the Nez Perce country, and to the Nez Perces an Indian reservation within it.

Four years before—in 1855—the treaty had been signed by the chiefs and head-men of the Nez Perce nation in council with Governor Stevens, of Washington, and Governor Palmer, of Oregon. The reservation secured to the Indians was of generous proportions. It included the principal valleys occupied by the different bands, or tribes, of the nation, and the hardship of severing their connection with native land fell upon very few of the Nez Perces. "Nor shall any white man," the treaty recites, "excepting those in the employment of the Indian Department, be permitted to reside upon the said reservation without permission of the tribe and the superintendent and agent." In consideration for the cession of territory, the Nez Perces were to have

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