The flight of the Nez Perce began on 15 Jun 1877 with Chief Joseph, Looking Glass and Too-hul-hul-sote leading 800 men, women and children in an attempt to reach a peaceful sanctuary in Canada.
The Nez Perce were pursued by over 2000 US Calvary soldiers on an epic flight to freedom of over 1200 miles across four states and multiple mountain ranges. 200 Nez Perce warriors defeated or held off pursuing troops in 18 engagements in which more than 150 Nez Perce—including women & children—were killed.
The surviving Nez Perce (approx. 400 people) were finally forced to surrender on 05 Oct 1877 after the Battle of Bear Paw Mountains in Montana, only 40 miles from Canada. Chief Joseph surrendered to General Oliver O. Howard, US Cavalry. During the surrender negotiations, Chief Joseph delivered a speech—which is considered, one of the greatest speeches in history. The Nez Perce population in now greater than 3500. This heart-felt and lamented speech is about survival of “The People.”