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Chief Joseph Bronze Honors Revered Leader
Chief Joseph Bronze Honors Revered Leader

His people called Hin-mah-too-yah-let-kekt, "thunder rolling down the mountain." The echoes can still be heard today.

Chief Joseph was a man who talked straight, believed what he said and lived what he believed. The revered Nez Perce leader's courage and integrity sustained his people during their fabled retreat through 1,700 miles of mountain and prairie in 1877. His memory inspires people of all cultures as a symbol of enduring dignity, determination and commitment to justice for all.

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat kekt's image continues to watch over and guard his people--and the users of the Salmon Courtyard--at Portland State's Native American Student and Community Center. Sculptor Doug Hyde's ten-foot tall bronze depiction of the famed chief stands in the trees above the courtyard, thanks to the generosity of donors Junki and Linda Yoshida, who gave the statue to the Center in 2003.

Hyde, who was born in Hermiston and is himself Nez Perce as well as Chippewa and Assiniboine, is a Vietnam veteran now living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An earlier bronze of Hyde's Chief Joseph stands in the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

"We feel honored to be able to contribute such a historically significant and beautifully sculpted bronze to Portland State University's new Native American Student and Community Center," said Linda Yoshida. "It is our hope that the memory and strength of Chief Joseph's spirit will continue to inspire students who view his statue for many years to come."

To see the Chief Joseph statue, visit the Native American Student and Community Center at 710 SW Jackson St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information about the Center and its programs, contact Tabitha Whitefoot at (503) 725-8031 or whitefot@pdx.edu.

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