This sacred site is dedicated to tıwi·teqıs, also known as Old Chief Joseph. Old Chief Joseph was a Nez Perce leader who refused to sell his Wallowa homeland and sign the 1863 Treaty. Before he died in 1871, he told his son to defend his homeland and people by saying, "My son, never forget my dying words, this country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and mother." Old Chief Joseph was originally buried between the forks of the Wallowa and Lostine rivers. His remains were reburied here in 1926.
Getting to Old Chief Joseph Gravesite
The Old Chief Joseph Gravesite is a 5.1 acre cemetery on the west side of Oregon Highway 82, just north of Wallowa Lake and 1 mile south of Joseph, Oregon.
Driving to Old Chief Joseph Gravesite
From Joseph, Oregon, take Main Street/Oregon State Highway 351 South/Wallowa Lake Highway south for 1.5 miles. The Old Chief Joseph Memorial and Gravesite will be on the west side of the highway.
Things to Do at Old Chief Joseph Gravesite
Explore the Site
This 5.1 acre cemetery is a national historic landmark and a sacred and sensitive site for the Nez Perce people. Old Chief Joseph’s grave is marked by a tall stone marker bearing the legend, "To The Memory of Old Chief Joseph, Died 1870."
Adjacent to this site you can visit the Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site and hike a short trail. Interpretive signs provide more information on Old Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail.
Fees, Permits, and Reservations
The general public does not need to pay entrance fees, make reservations, or obtain permits from the National Park Service at Old Chief Joseph Gravesite.
Respecting Sacred Ground
This 5.1 acre cemetery is a national historic landmark and a sacred and sensitive site for the Nez Perce people. It is held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Umatilla and Nez Perce Tribes, but managed by the Nez Perce National Historical park under the direction of the tribes. Please help us protect and respect Old Chief Joseph's gravesite.
Last updated: September 7, 2021