The Land Of Chief Joseph
Painting - Oil On Canvas
A burst of yellow wildflowers heralds spring, while snow packed peaks surround the viewer in a mountain wilderness landscape.
This is The Land of Chief Joseph, the mountain in the Wallowa Range of Oregon that overlooks Lake Wallowa and the valley where Young Chief Joseph, and his Nez Perce band, spend the summers and spring hunting, fishing, and gathering berries.
It is not that long ago – the late 19th century – that Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce lived in and loved this area, but the change that has been wrought in that 130 years is massive and, for the Native American tribe that for so long called this area home, calamitous.
There is a small area of the landscape, down between the end of the lake and the road that runs into the town of Joseph, that belongs to the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce, who acquired it back in the late 20th century. Visitors – non-Native American as well as those of the tribe – are welcome to walk the trails that meander through the fields, and feel the embrace of the mountains that surround and embrace.
If you block your peripheral vision and just stare into the mountains and the trees, it’s possible to imagine what it must have been like here back when the land was the home of Chief Joseph and his people.
The painting, The Land of Chief Joseph, is created from the perspective of the hill over the lake, an area that developers have wanted to fill with hotels and resorts because of the view, but which remains untouched, still able to be hiked, still able to be walked, still able to be visited with a sense of wonder and awe. The Land of Chief Joseph invites us to step into a landscape of mountains and snow, wildflowers and meadow grass, silence and memories.
Featured in 32 Fine Art America groups.
March 30th, 2017
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