In a short time a group of commissioners arrived to begin organization of a new Indian agency in the valley. One of them mentioned the advantages of schools for Joseph’s people. Joseph replied that the Nez Percés did not want the white man’s schools.
‘Why do you not want to have schools,’ the commissioner asked.
‘They will teach us to have churches,’ Joseph answered.
‘Do you not want churches?’
‘No, we do not want churches.’
‘Why do you not want churches?’
‘They will teach us to quarrel about God,’ Joseph said. ‘We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about God. We do not want to learn that.’
– Dee Brown