Poker Joe

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Poker Joe (18?? - 1877) or Hototo,[1] also known as Lean Elk or Little Tobacco was a warrior and subchief of the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans who played a critical role during the flight of the Nez Perce during the Nez Perce War in 1877. He was of half French Canadian and Nez Perce descent and was said to have received his nickname from his love of the game of poker. Poker Joe was familiar with Montana and the routes through the Rocky Mountains to reach the Great Plains and guided the Nez Perce in their flight. He spoke good English and served as an interpreter and adviser to Chief Joseph and other Nez Perce leaders. He was the chosen trail boss and guide of the Nez Percé people following the Battle of the Big Hole, in which the Nez Percé won a costly victory against pursuing U.S. forces in southwest Montana. He kept the Nez Perce ahead of the army for the following seven weeks. He led the Nez Percé on a trek to the Missouri River, covering between 500 and 700 miles.

Mistaken for a Cheyenne or Lakota scout he was killed by Nez Percé fire in the Battle of Bear Paw in Montana, the final battle of the Nez Perce War.[2]

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