A story about Chief Joseph told by Roman

portrait of Cheif Joseph





   "He was shooting a bow and arrow. He was shooting it at the army. They were trying to move his people from their place.

Chief Joseph held them off for a long time. He held them off about 5 days. They fighted for a long time.
Then he made a speech, and a lot of his troops were already dead. 
He said
"I no longer fight for my place. I will move. And I really do not want to fight."

Gardner "It's a really good thing to say that, cause fighting really isn't good. It isn't good for anybody."

"But they didn't keep their promise. The Government army didn't keep their  promise and the President didn't keep his promise. They didn't give Chief Joseph and his people a good place. 

And Cheif Joseph's heart was broken. He was so sad. He died because he was so sad. Then he was in his grave place."
--------

One day during circle in the Kindergarten, as the children were considering love, we listened to this poem:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]BY E. E. CUMMINGS
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Thinking about carrying someone's heart in your heart enriched a discussion the children were already having about hearts, and where love comes from. As the children talked, Roman perked his head up- he had heard something that reminded him of a project his sister was doing. He said "Cheif Joseph died of a broken heart. He was so sad when he lost his place, that he died." This idea of a broken heart was important to Roman, and he worked on it for several days in the studio. He asked me to write down the story and to type it on a computer. He checked with me more than once to be sure I was writing just what he was saying. It was very powerful to me, this idea that seemed to come out of nowhere, but that caused us to stop and consider a broken heart and sadness, and the power of place, and fighting for a cause, and fighting no more forever, in the midst of an inquiry into love. Powerful, to think about Cheif Joseph of the Nez Pierce and his story, through the eyes of a child. 

see more about Cheif Josephwww.americaslibrary.gov



“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.
Source: Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1991) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179622





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