Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it in his local language was born on March 3, 1840and succeeded his father Tuekakas (Chief Joseph the Elder) as the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce. Nez Perce was a Native American tribe indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon in the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States.He led his posse during the most difficult time their contemporary history when they were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands by the U.S Federal Government and moved northeast, onto the significantly reduced reservation in Idaho. A series of events that Resulted in times of violence led those Nez Perce who resisted removal, including Joseph’s band and an allied band of the Palouse Tribe flight, to attempt to reach political asylum.
Although famous, Joseph didn’t obtain much external help. By the time he surrendered, over 100 of his followers were wounded or killed. Although Joseph had negotiated a safe return home for his people, General Sherman of the U.S military forced him and over 200 followers to be taken on unheated rail cars to Fort Leavenworth to be held in a prisoner of war campsite for eight months. Toward the end of the summer that followed, the surviving Nez Perce were taken by rail to a reservation in the Indian Territory for seven years. Many of them died of disease soon after.