During the hot days (July, 1878) we received notice that we were to be moved farther away from our own country. We were not asked if we were willing to go. We were ordered to get into the railroad-cars. Three of my people died on the way to Baxter Springs. It was worse to die there than to die fighting in the mountains.

Chief Joseph

(From the official Quapaw website)

The Nez Perce were shipped by train from Fort Leavenworth to Baxter Springs, Kansas, the southeastern-most town in the state. From there they were moved by wagon across the border into Oklahoma to the Quapaw Agency where they stayed for eleven months.

Today this northeastern-most county of Oklahoma is named Ottawa County. In 1878, this little area of 470 square miles was already crowded with Miamis from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, Quapaws from Arkansas, Peorias from Illinois, Ottawas and Wyandots from Michigan, Senecas from New York, Shawnees from Ohio, Cherokees from the Carolinas and Tennessee, and the recently arrived Modocs from southwestern Oregon and Poncas from South Dakota. Anyplace the Nez Perce camped was bound to be on someone else's land. They first camped near the Modocs, then moved a few miles away onto Peoria land. Peorians complained they were never paid for their land. No one was happy.



The Nez Perce Flight to Canada - An Introduction

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