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Chief Joseph the Younger Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

In American history, there are many famous Native Americans. One of the most famous Native Americans was Chief Joseph the Younger. In this lesson, you will learn about the life and accomplishments of Chief Joseph the Younger.

Who Was Chief Joseph the Younger?

Imagine that someone came to your door and said you couldn't live in your house anymore. You had to leave your home and walk hundreds or even thousands of miles to a new place. How would you feel? If you would feel angry or upset, you're not alone. A famous Native-American chief felt the same way.

Chief Joseph the Younger was chief of the Nez Perce tribe in the Wallowa Valley of Oregon. Born in 1840, Chief Joseph's real name was Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, which means 'Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain.'


Picture of Chief Joseph
joseph


The people of the Nez Perce tribe lived on their land for many years. As American settlers began to move west across the country, people explored the Nez Perce's land. While exploring, gold was found, so the government wanted to find a way to take the land away from the Nez Perce.

In 1877, the United States government ordered that Chief Joseph's tribe had to leave their lands and relocate to a reservation. A reservation is an area of land that is ruled by Native Americans and not the US government. Reservations were often far away from the Native Americans' land, and the government said they had to move. This is kind of like when your teacher tells you to move your seat in class. You have to do it even if you don't want to.

Chief Joseph's March

Have you ever been really angry about a rule that you had to follow, especially if you thought it was unfair? Chief Joseph was very angry at the US government for trying to move his people to a reservation. Since the United States had a strong army and weapons that the Native Americans didn't have, Chief Joseph agreed to move his people to the reservation. He didn't want to risk the government harming his tribe.

Before the tribe moved, however, members of the Nez Perce killed a group of settlers. Knowing that US troops would be ready to kill his people, Chief Joseph decided to retreat to Canada. A retreat is when a group moves back or withdraws so they do not fight another group.

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