Chief Joseph had an impact on my life. Chief Joseph was of the Nez Perce tribe in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States back in the mid 1800's. He spoke out often with great wisdom and vision.

My artist grandfather introduced us kids to Chief Joseph back in the 1930s with talk and tales. I have always related to granddad's sharing of Chief Joseph's wisdom. No doubt this influenced some of my thinking and choices in life.

After 27 years on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Polson, I recently moved to Grizzly Peak, an independent living facility in Missoula. Living on the Flathead Reservation felt so comfortable and suitable to me. I cherished my life in Polson.

Soon after moving here I was sitting at one of our round four person tables having lunch and one fellow read off the following Chief Joseph saying he had come across: 

"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself... and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty."

I thought, wow, a voice out of my distant past. And the timing was perfect. He spoke wisely to me again, especially with all our nation is going through right now and with all my present personal adjustments in life.

This coincidental reintroduction to Chief Joseph's wisdom reminded me that amidst all the turmoil I am free to be true to myself and my beliefs. Only the outer has changed. My inner-self has not changed. I am truly free. No amount of change can interfere with my sense of purpose in life. Thank you, once again, Chief Joseph.

Bob McClellan,


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