Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Year Of" Movie today: "I Will Fight No More Forever," 2 pm at the Funk

Today's Year of North American Indigenous Peoples movie offering is the 1975 film "I Will Fight No More Forever," starring Ned Romero as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce nation lived in the Wallowa Valley of Idaho and Oregon. When President Grant opened the Valley to white settlement, the Nez Perce were given only 30 days to move to a reservation. Chief Joseph had promised his father on his deathbed that he would not allow his people to lose their land. ("A man who would not defend his father's grave is no worse than an animal," Chief Joseph said).

The army was sent to force the removal. Chief Joseph and his people managed to evade the pursuing units for 108 days, finally surrendering when his starving, outnumbered band was too weak to continue.

On October 8, 1877, Chief Joseph supposedly made his famous speech. "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." (There has been some debate whether or not he actually spoke those words, but they are an indelible part of his legend). For his principles and his conduct, Chief Joseph has become renowned as a humanitarian and a peacemaker. For the rest of his life, he spoke out against injustice and worked to improve the lives of his people. Chief Joseph died in 1904. According to his physician, the cause of death was "a broken heart."

The movie also stars James Whitmore, as the leader of the federal troops pursuing Joseph, and Sam Elliott.

All "Year Of" movies are shown in the theater of the Funk Heritage Center on campus.

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