Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No More Forever

When we lived in Philadelphia, my kids and I liked taking a walk to the National Liberty Museum, where one of our favorite exhibits was the stained glass "Voyage to Liberty Through Faith Gallery" (fourth floor, north wing), where we would always stop to read the words of Nez Perce Chief Joseph, a speech that gives me goosebumps every time:



"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; 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--perhaps 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."
~ Chief Joseph's Surrender, 5 October 1877


translated, and perhaps embellished, by
~ Charles Erskine Scott Wood, close friend of Chief Joseph

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