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Posts published in “Day: April 11, 2015”

The claimants of Chief Joseph

idaho RANDY

When I started to cover the Idaho Legislature decades ago, the Idaho Statesman had a picture poster on its Statehouse office wall that dominated above everything else there. It was a picture of Chief Joseph, of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce. It was there in a place of pride for decades, and no one ever seemed to question that it was rightly there.

A lot of Idahoans, including many who take the history of Idaho seriously, claim the legacy of Chief Joseph. It’s not hard to understand, considering the man’s fame, his vigorous history of leadership, eloquence and many other admirable qualities.

This comes up because Oregon has been considering replacing its two statues of notable historical figures (John McLoughlin and Jason Lee) now in place at the U.S. Capitol at the National Statuary Hall. (Idaho’s choices, George Shoup and William E. Borah, might also merit reconsideration.) A study commission considered alternative choices, and it picked Chief Joseph along with suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway. The legislature now is deciding whether to give its approval.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter followed up last week, writing to Oregon legislators that “Chief Joseph's story and legacy in the Northwest is indeed historically notable. But a close examination of history may indicate a more significant historical tie to Idaho than any other state in our region.”

Chief Joseph was a northwesterner, but pinning him down to any one state may be too difficult.

He had Oregon roots, born and raised and lived as a young man in what is now the Wallowa country of northeastern Oregon, around the Oregon city of Joseph, which was named for him. While “treaty” Nez Perce concentrated in north-central Idaho by the early 1860s, Joseph generally stayed with the “non-treaty” tribal members in the Wallowas for more than another decade. To the end of his days he considered that Oregon country his home, and for decades of forced residence in Idaho and elsewhere, he never quit trying to return.

But his Idaho connection was significant too. Joseph probably spent substantial time over the years in the Idaho side of the Nez Perce reservation, though he was based in Idaho relatively briefly. It was then, however, when he emerged as a leader of the Nez Perce who made their spectacular escape to Canada, pursued and periodically embattled by the U.S. Army. That event crossed hundreds of miles in Idaho, then into Wyoming and Montana, where the army finally cornered them and forced them to surrender. Montana was where Joseph was said to have delivered (though in fact he probably never did) his much-quoted message that, “I will fight no more forever.” (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Legislature prepares to adjourn (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Boise councilman proposees obesity rule change (Boise Statesman)
Live racing will continue at Les Bois (Boise Statesman)
BYU-I president departs (IF Post Register)
Madison school district decides to administer ISAT (IF Post Register)
Washington sees $10m shortfall for wildlife (Lewiston Tribune)
Anti-bully law effective on July 1 (Moscow News)
Washington state has Palouse water concerns (Moscow News)
Moscow bus system might lose federal money (Moscow News)
Debate continues on NNU's Oord layoff (Nampa Press Tribune)
JFAC's Cameron says he might not run again (TF Times News)

School board releases emails on superintendent (Eugene Register Guard)
Arlie developer faces bankruptcy issues (Eugene Register Guard)
Lower Klamath wetland running out of water (KF Herald & News)
Property owner gets $200k in dog barking case (Medford Tribune)
Magazine case defendants still soliciting? (Medford Tribune)
Trap failure kills about 400 steelhead (Medford Tribune)
Local lawmaker proposes raising speed limits (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla sets medical pot locations (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New degree-driven university funding plan (Portland Oregonian)
New vaccine bill generates more debate (Portland Oregonian)
Brown signs $7b schools budget (Salem Statesman Journal)

Cantwell moving on oil train bills (Bellingham Herald)
State House passes new medical pot bill (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Kitsap crisis center to open July 2016 (Bremerton Sun)
Scientists find 'warm blob' in north Pacific (Seattle Times)
Budgeting for drought relief draws much debate (Yakima Herald Republic)