Opal's Journey: A Young Girl's Adventure with Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce 1877 Flight for Freedom (Paperback)
Refusing to give up their ancestral land and be driven into the newly established reservation, several Nez Perce bands led by Chief Joseph, White Bird, and Looking Glass embarked on a fighting retreat covering four states: Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, with an attempt to reach safety in Canada. Along the way the native warriors outwitted the U.S. Cavalry again and again, but eventually surrendered some 40 miles from the Canadian border where Chief Joseph made his famous ?I will fight no more forever? speech. About 750 men, women, children, and elderly set out on the march; over 100 died in battles and extreme hardship. Based on historical facts mostly the story was told through the eyes of a fictitious nine-year-old white girl, Opal, who befriends the Nez Perce and goes through the war with them. The oppression of the Native Americans was one of the darkest pages in the U.S. history, yet the spirit of these proud people could never be destroyed even in the face of death and exile and material impoverishment. Also the spirit of reconciliation prevailed as the peacemaker Chief Joseph eloquently summed up: Whenever the white man treats the Indians as they treat each other, then we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike ? brothers of one father and one mother, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for us all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land, and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers? hands upon the face of the earth. For this time Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.