The Wallowa Massacre

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In April and May of 1877, Joseph and his brother Ollokot met three times with General Howard and others trying to convince them that although the Nez Perce did not want to fight, they had the right to stay in the Wallowa Valley. However, on May 14, 1877, formerly sympathetic General Howard had now grown impatient, and decided that ‘reasonable time’ was up. He gave the Wallowa band 30 days to move to the reservation. ‘If you are not here in that time,’ he said, ‘I shall consider that you want to fight, and will send my soldiers to drive you on.’ Howard made things worse by jailing the old Nez Perce leader, Toohoolhoolzote, who spoke against moving to the reservation. The other Nez Perce leaders, including Chief Joseph, considered military…show more content…
According to Nez Perce accounts, an aged warrior named Hahkauts Ilpilp (Red Grizzly Bear) challenged the presence in the ceremony of several young participants whose relatives ' deaths at the hands of whites had gone unavenged. One named Wahlitits (Shore Crossing) was the son of Eagle Robe, who had been shot to death by Lawrence Ott three years earlier. Thus humiliated and apparently fortified with liquor, Shore Crossing and two of his cousins, Sarpsisilpilp (Red Moccasin Top) and Wetyemtmas Wahyakt (Swan Necklace), set out for the Salmon River settlements on a mission of revenge. On the following evening, June 14, 1877, Swan Necklace returned to the lake to announce when they couldn’t find Ott they waited a day then went to the cabin of a man known to be cruel to Indians and shot him. Roused by this first act of vengeance, they killed four white men (no women or children) and wounded one man. Inspired by the war furor, approximately sixteen more young men rode off to join Shore Crossing in raiding the settlements. A total of eighteen hostile white settlers trespassing and living along the Salmon River were

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