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Native American History

      Native American Timeline – Pre U.S. History

Most authorities agree that the first evidence of people inhabiting North America indicates that they migrated here from Eurasia over 13,000 years ago, most likely crossing along the Bering Land Bridge, which existed during the Ice Age. However, some historians believe, and more recent evidence shows, that people migrated into the Americas much earlier, up to 40,000 years ago. These early Paleo-Indians spread across the continent, developing and advancing their cultures before Europeans’ early exploration of the New World began. These explorers were followed by colonial settlers and the many events that led to the American Revolution and the establishment of the United States of America.

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Chief Joseph – Leader of the Nez Perce

By Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa)

NezPerce-Chief Joseph.jpg
Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself — and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty. Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekht has spoken for his people.
–– Chief Joseph

Like other tribes too large to be united under one chief, the Nez Perce tribe of Indians was composed of several bands, each distinct in sovereignty. It was a loose confederacy. Joseph and his people occupied the Imnaha or Grande Ronde Valley in Oregon, which was considered perhaps the finest land in that part of the country.

When the last treaty was entered into by some of the bands of the Nez Perce, Joseph’s band was at Lapwai, Idaho, and had nothing to do with the agreement. The elder chief, in dying, counseled his son, who was not more than twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, never to part with their home, assuring him that he had signed no papers. These peaceful, non-treaty Indians did not even know what land had been ceded until the agent read them the government order to leave. Of course, they refused. You and I would have done the same.

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