Headline: "Joseph and His Band"

Source: Spokane Evening Review. May 26, 1885 [page number ?]

Subject: Return of the Nez Perces to the Northwest

Synopsis: Despite local protests, the Nez Perces have arrived in Spokane. Anxieties are running high as the "murderers" are brought back to the Northwest. Author hints darkly: "we will not be surprised at any time to hear of the sudden death of the Nez Perce Indians after they set foot in the western territories."

Notable Quotations: "The government has done a cruel and unwise thing in returning these blood-stained savages to the scenes made horrible by their rapine and murder."

"The ranting, hypocritical would-be philanthropic easterner is much to blame for weaving a mantle of romantic and nonsensical sympathy over this band of Indians. The ideal Indian of J. Fennimore Cooper, and the real Indian of the plains are two distinct species...."

Observation: This article -- which is even more vituperative than "Unwelcome Immigrants" -- castigates Chief Joseph, the Nez Perces, and Indians in general. Note, however, how subsequent articles (a few years later) become more favorable towards Joseph.

 

"Joseph and His Band"

 

In spite of all protests, against the wishes of the people of eastern Washington and northern Idaho, in the face of the dire threats of vengeance that have been so frequently and openly expressed by men made desperate by the foulest cruelties known to the most barbarous warfare, the government insists upon returning the remnant of the Nez Perce Indians to this country from the Indian territory. This action is a serious mistake and may result in the most serious consequences. Knowing the feeling existing in the northwest regarding this band of Indians, and also knowing full well the vile atrocities that engendered this feeling, the government has done a cruel and unwise thing in returning these blood-stained savages to the scenes made horrible by their rapine and murder. It is too late now to hope for redress through the hands of a government that should be ever ready to protect its people against a foreign foe or savage enemies. The Nez Perces are now on their way to this section. Some day this week, probably to-morrow, Chief Joseph and 112 of his followers will be turned over in Spokane Falls to Indian Agent Waters. They are destined for the Colville reservation. One hundred and nineteen of the same band are destined for Fort Lapwai, the very center of their bloody operations in 1877. There will be a force of soldiers on hand to protect the Indians. It is the presumption that the exposed settlers, far removed from the protection of garrisons, are able to protect themselves. Of course we have no fears of the handful of red men that are returned to the northwest, broken in spirit and without organization, but the history of this tribe shows them to be a restless, dissention-breeding factor among the Indian race. Moreover, those who lived in this country during the horrible scene that accompanied the outbreak of the Nez Perces are not liable to forget them. The frightful barbarities they committed are too recent for the old settlers either to forget or forgive. If a white man should break into your house, cruelly kill your babes and ravish your wife and daughters you would kill him on sight were you to meet him twenty years after committing the deed. Those are a few of the crimes that Chief Joseph's band were guilty of only eight years ago, and where is the power potent enough to prevent the men who suffered then from reeking vengeance upon the heads of this band of hell hounds. The white man and Indian are at peace, but we will not be surprised at any time to hear of the sudden death of the Nez Perce Indians after they set foot in the western territories. Their return is cruelty to the Indian and a grave and reprehensible mistake on the part of the authorities. It is too late to rectify the error now, and we can only hope that the Indian can be kept away from those whom he so cruelly wronged. As a correspondent stated in our issue of yesterday, there had been no trouble with the Colville Indians, yet there is no telling what effect the introduction of these strangers will have among the native tribes. The ranting, hypocritical would-be philanthropic easterner is much to blame for weaving a mantle of romantic and nonsensical sympathy over this band of Indians. The ideal Indian of J. Fennimore Cooper, and the real Indian of the plains are two distinct species, and the distant lover of the aborigine would have some of his affection rasped off were he to mix up with the raw native in his native dirt. The Indian has no doubt suffered many grievances, there may be many deserving and good Indians, but, to rake up an old stereotyped expression, the very best Indians are those planted beneath the roses. We have no desire to see the Indian treated as a brute, and it is for this reason that we feel opposed to the introduction of Joseph and his followers into a country where his name is abhorred and his memory cursed by people having reasons to hate his name and the race that he is an acknowledged leader of.