Old Chief Joseph (Tuekakas) had been the leader of his band. When he died the responsibility for leading the band was shared by Chief Joseph (Thunder on the Mountain) and his brother Ollokut. Ollokut was recognized by his people as a strong War Chief and Political Leader.
The old Chief Joseph gravesite and monument is just outside of Joseph Oregon.
Standing by the monument you can turn and see Lake Wallowa. It is surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains.
The mountains are truly majestic. As we came over the mountains to Enterprise. The road was paved, and windy. It was at least two hours from Lewiston. There is no easy way to get to Enterprise, Oregon.
When you are in the heart of the Wallowa Valley you know why Chief Joseph and his band did not want to leave.
According to what I have read this is the dying declaration of Chief Joseph to his son Joseph -
" My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more, and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother. "
Chief Joseph commented "I clasped my father's hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild animal."