Chief Joseph's Surrender Speech at Bears Paw Battle October 5, 1877
Tell General Howard I know his Heart. What He told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting, Looking Glass is dead. too-Hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are--perhpas freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever." 1
1 Brown, Mark H., The Flight of the Nez Perce, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1967, p. 407.
Historical Note: Mark Brown may have been one of the first Historians to question whether or not Joseph actually gave the surrender speech as taken by Lieutenant C. E. S. Wood. Or, did Lt. Wood paraphrase Joseph's words. Please refer to page 407 of "The flight of the Nez Perce" for discussion.
It should be noted that the Speech is consistent with Joseph's eloquence as a speaker. It is reasonable to assume that the surrender speech was very near what Lt. Wood reported or perhaps edited slightly as Lt. Wood was later trying to recall and document Joseph's words. It should also be noted that Lt. Wood made the transcription of the speech at time of delivery and that both Lt. Wood and General Howard may have edited the transcription.