A chief to the Duwamish people his native name is closer to Si’ahl (c. 1786 – June 7, 1866) he was a prominent figure among his people in the Pacific Northwest. At just about six feet he was considered both broad and tall and he was given the nickname, ” Le Gros” or “The Big One” by the traders with the Hudson Bay Company. He also became known as an orator because of his articulate manner in which he expressed his views bridging a relationship between the Native Americans and the Europeans.He was baptized “Noah” into the Roman Catholic Church. In March of 1854 he gave a famous speech to a great number of people just outside of Seattle in regards to Native lands. The city of Seattle in the state of Washington, was named in his honor. He spoke while resting his hand on the Governor Isaac Stevens at the time of President Franklin Pierce , about the sacredness of our environment and its creatures as well as the inter-connectedness of all that exists including humanity as a whole regardless of race, or culture, in his words:
“ all things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
162 years later, his words are just as relevant today, if not even more so now than at his time…After all the technological advancements, space travel and latest scientific discoveries, will humanity ever become conscious of the essence of this message? Or in the pursuit to conquer “space” we are just looking for “more” places to mark as our territories with a flag, to “terraform” in search for new resources to vandalize, appropriate, spoil and misuse to empower and enrich the pockets of the selfish few…
Could human consciousness rise enough to utilize the knowledge of science for the benefit of mankind and the environment? To provide solutions for clean free energy for all humanity, to clean our environment from the pollution that we created, to live once again in harmony with all creatures, to respect the privilege that it is to be a part of this world; not our right, not our entitlement, but a privilege and a great responsibility. Will humanity finally achieve the wisdom that has been passed on by the many “way showers” that lighted our path to finally awaken us from our egocentric self servicing mentalities and learn to live in peace with one another?
Here are his words to inspire you. Please let me know your thoughts.
“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you sell them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of a pony, and man, all belong to the same family.
The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The waters murmur in the voice of my father’s father. The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the river the kindness you would give any brother.
If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow Flowers.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our Mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know: The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
One thing we know: Our God is your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
When the last red man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?
We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.
As we are a part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: There is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are all brothers.”
WILD WEST MAGAZINE. 2016. CHIEF SEATTLE. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.historynet.com/chief-seattle. [Accessed 16 June 2016].
Wikipedia. 2016. CHIEF SEATTLE. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Seattle. [Accessed 16 June 2016].