Bonneville Mountain & Wallowa Lake - Wallowa County, OR

Rebel Kreklow

Joined November 2010

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Bonneville Mountain, 9,146 feet tall is located at the south end of Wallowa Lake, Wallowa County, OR, and sits back between Chief Joseph Mountain on the right and Mount Howard on the left. Bonneville Mountain is part of the Wallowa Mountain Range which is approximately 40 miles long and runs northwest to southeast in southwestern Wallowa County, OR and eastern Union County, OR. Known as the “Oregon Alps”, the range is part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.

Wallowa Lake and its surrounding area was guaranteed to the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) Tribe as part of a treaty signed in 1855. As usual, the treaty was renegotiated in 1863, due to gold being discovered in the area in 1860, forcing the Nez Perces to be moved to a reservation in Idaho, which ultimately resulted in the Nez Perce War (June–October 1877), between the U.S. Government and several Nez Perce bands. Following the war, Chief Joseph (Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt) and remnants of his band of Wallowa (Wal-lam-wat-kain) Nez Perce was moved to Kansas, then Oklahoma and finally Washington State. Joseph lived in Washington State, never being allowed to return to the Wallowas, and never being allowed to be buried near his father, Ttıwi·teq̉ıs (Old Chief Joseph) near Joseph, Wallowa County, OR.

It is interesting to note that Ttıwi·teq̉ıs (Old Chief Joseph) is said to have told his son, (Chief Joseph), “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. Old Chief Joseph is buried in a Native American cemetery with a monument near the base of Wallowa Lake. His son, Chief Joseph is buried with a monument on the Colville Indian Reservation, Nespelem, Okanogan County, WA.

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