"Chief Seattle's" Letter
[Note: Chief Seattle did not write this letter: a New York City Playwright named Ted Perry did. The letter has been attributed to Chief Seattle.]

[It is said that this version was written by Ted Perry and he wrote the speech in the late 70's for a movie called "Home" which was produced in the US by the Southern Baptist Convention. He had no idea that anyone would consider his work anything other than fiction, and he has spent quite a bit of time in the past few years trying to set the record straight.]

Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and the Duwamish, to Washington Governor Stevens, as recorded by Dr. Henry Smith in 1853:

Yonder sky, that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and, which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds. My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons. The White Chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and goodwill. This is kind of him, for we know he has little need of our friendship in return. His people are many. My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain. The great- and I presume- good White Chief sends us word that he wishes to buy our lands but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably. This indeed appears just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect, and the offer may be wise also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive country.

There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory. I will not dwell on nor mourn over our untimely decay, nor reproach my pale face brothers with hastening it as we too may have been somewhat to blame.

Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. Thus it was when the White Man first began to push our forefathers westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men who stay at home during time of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.

Our good father at Washington -- for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since King George has moved his boundaries further north -- our great and good father, I say, sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us. His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of war will fill our harbors so that our ancient enemies far to the northward -- the Haidas and Tsimpsians -- will cease to frighten our women, children and old men. Then in reality he will be our father and we his children. But can he ever be? Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine. He folds His strong protecting arms loving about the pale face and leads him by the hand as a father leads his infant son -- but He has forsaken His Red Children -- if they really are His. Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us. Your God makes your people wax strong every day. Soon they will fill all the land. Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return. The White Man's God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be Brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness. If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial- for He came to His pale faced children. We never saw Him. He gave you laws but had no word for his red children whose teeming multitudes filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little common between us.

To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. The Red Man could never comprehend nor remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of the sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender and fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the Happy Hunting Grounds to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun.

However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of defense darkness.

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indians' night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he goes he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that heads to approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moans. A few more winters -- and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people -- once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

We will ponder your propositions and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than to yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy-hearted maidens, and even our little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits. And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memories of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, out in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.

Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and the Duwamish upon the sale of his land two years later, in 1855:

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 buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which sources 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 the 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 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 water's murmur is 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 rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

If we sell 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 in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also 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 there? 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 you all.

As we are 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 brothers after all.

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DID CHIEF SEATTLE SPEAK?

Chief Seattle (17xx -1866) from the Suqvamish tribe, was called so by the white, and became worldfamous under this name, because they used his name for the town Seattle, Washington, USA. Since the beginning of the nineteen seventies, a speech, which had been made by him, has been a popular ingridient in the environment- debate. The speech critizise the white mans lack of culture, called civilization, especially our ruthless exploitation of nature. Later on it has been proofed, that the speech was written as a films- cript by a certain Ted Perry. The producer of this film "Home" was Southern Baptist Convention, who suppressed the authors name to make the impression more authentic!

He was inspired by a modernization of a report in Seattle Sunday Star oct. 29, 1887. The original speech was given about 1853, and the report was called "Scraps from a diary". The author of this was a physician Dr.Henry A. Smith. He tells us, he was there himself, but no one has yet found his notes.

His report from 1887, of which Ted Perry used let us say 10%, is more in harmony with something Seattle could have been saying, than Ted Perrys version which also by Perry himself is said to be fiction. But this do not proof, that Dr. Smiths version isn't a fiction too! Because of the popularity of the "homemade", notorius fiction called "chief Seattle's speech", we need contribution til unshell the facts about the report from 1887.

Why did this report appear just then?

Is there a local explanation?

The heading to the article in 1887 was: "Early Reminiscenes Number 10". Then it must be part of a serie. What is the subjects in the other articles? What else do we know about Dr. Henry A. Smith? Why does the painter Paul Kane, who travelled allthrough the area 1846-47, never mention a word about Seattle in his account of the jouney, although he looked up every indian, who had a glowe of fame? As a convert chief (catholic) , Seattle ougth to have been known in the area at that time?

Who finds other good questions, and who's got the answers?

Please contact:

Per-Olof Johansson, p.o.box 58, DK-3450 Aller d, Denmark or write to my internet adress [email protected]

Sources: Rudolf Kaiser: Chief Seattle's Speech(es): American Origins and European Reception. To bee found in: Brian Swann and Arnold Kru- pat(ed):Recovering the World. Essays on native american literature. University of California Press 1987. Carl A.Roos: Vad sade indianh vdingen Seattle? To be found in: Seatt- les Tal. Svensk-Indianska F rbundets Skriftserie, h fte 1.Hudiksval 1982.(Sweden)

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Chief Seattle Bibliography

Here are some of the original source materials:

An article in the Seattle Sunday Star, of October 29, 1887, by Dr. Henry A. Smith describes Seattle in detail and talks about his influence over the Skokomish tribe. He describes the indians' welcoming reception for Governor Stevens (the new Appointee for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory). It was held in front of Dr. Maynard's office (Seattle's friend and liason) near the waterfront on Main Street. He says: "The bay swarmed with canoes and the shore was lined with a living mass of swaying, writhing, dusky humanity, until Old Chief Seattle's trumpet-toned voice rolled over the immense multitude like the reveille of a bass drum, when silence became as instantaneous and perfect as that which follows a clap of thunder from a clear sky."

He then describes a speech made by Seattle. Parts of it are different than the speech quoted in the High Country News, August, 1971 that is posted currently in these pages. There are parts that have been left out of recent versions that are actually more moving. There are extended passages, though, that are identical. The Star article is posted in its entirety at Per-Olof's in Denmark.

The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol 22, #4, October, 1931. published by the Washington University State Historical Society, University Station, Seattle, Washington. An Article by Clarence B. Bagley: "Chief Seattle and Angeline". This is a detailed look at Seattle's life, mention of his father, Schweabe, his two wives and several concubines, and his daughter, Angeline, by his first wife. Pioneers erecting a monument to him in 1892, after his death, estimated the year of his birth to be 1786.

There is a description of his friendship with Doctor David S. Maynard, who crossed the plains in 1850. The Dr.'s first business venture was cutting a hundred cords of wood in Olympia, which he sent to San Francisco on the brig Franklin Adams and sold at a good profit. He was then able to set up a small store in Olympia.

He became friends with Seattle, who told him of a better place than Olympia, with a good harbor. "Maynard took Seattle at his word, sold off as far as he could his stock of merchandise, put the remainder on a scow, and with an Indian crew and Chief Seattle as pilot, came to the promised land. This was in the last days of March, 1852...Undoubtedly the friendship of Doctor Maynard for Chief Seattle led to the bestowment of his name upon the newly born city."

There is a description then by Samuel F. Coombs of the 'intelligent looking indian who could speak English'. He tells of stories he was told about Seattle becoming the leader of the six tribes after raids on the saltwater indians by the White Rivers indians around 1800, before the white men came.

Then there are details of the arriving of Comissioner Stevens and Seattle's speech quoting the Sunday Seattle Star article.

Then:"Through the efforts of the French missionaries Seattle became a Catholic and inaugurated regular morning and evening prayers in his tribe, which were continued by his people after his death. He died June 7, 1866, at the Old Man House from a fever or ague. His funeral was attended by hundreds of whites from all parts of the sound, and G.A. Meigs, of the Port Madison mill, closed down the establishment in his honor. He was buried according to the rites of the Catholic Church with Indian customs added."

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CHIEF SEATTLE'S SPEECH ??

Here comes - perhaps not the speech - but the newspaper article, with the personal memories of dr. Henry A. Smith. No one seems to appriciate his work, but that is what we have, so I do not understand, why his personal remarks usually disappear. Untill now I have no informations saying, that he was not there!

"CHIEF SEATTLE'S SPEECH"

Seattle Sunday Star, October 29, 1887

His Native Eloquence, Etc., Etc. by Henry A. Smith Scraps from a Diary: Chief Seattle - A gentleman By Instinct

10th article in the series Early Reminiscences

Old Chief Seattle was the largest Indian I ever saw, and by far the noblest-looking. He stood 6 feet full in his moccasins, was broad-shouldered, deep-chested, and finely proportioned. His eyes were large, intelligent, expressive and friendly when in repose, and faithfully mirrored the varying moods of the great soul that looked through them. He was usually solemn, silent, and dignified, but on great occasions moved among assembled multitudes like a Titan among Lilliputians, and his lightest word was law.

When rising to speak in council or to tender advice, all eyes were turned upon him, and deep-toned, sonorous, and eloquent sentences rolled from his lips like the ceaseless thunders of cataracts flowing from exhaustless fountains, and his magnificent bearing was as noble as that of the most cultivated military chieftain in command of the forces of a continent. Neither his eloquence, his dignity, or his grace were acquired. They were as native to his manhood as leaves and blossoms are to a flowering almond.

His influence was marvelous. He might have been an emperor but all his instincts were democratic, and he ruled his loyal subjects with kindness and paternal benignity.

He was always flattered by marked attention from white men, and never so much as when seated at their tables, and on such occasions he manifested more than anywhere else the genuine instincts of a gentleman.

When Governor Stevens first arrived in Seattle and told the natives he had been appointed commissioner of Indian affairs for Washington Territory, they gave him a demonstrative reception in front of Dr. Maynard's office, near the waterfront on Main Street. The bay swarmed with canoes and the shore was lined with a living mass of swaying, writhing, dusky humanity, until old Chief Seattle's trumpet-toned voice rolled over the immense multitude, like the startling reveille of a bass drum, when silence became as instantaneous and perfect as that which follows a clap of thunder from a clear sky.

The governor was then introduced to the native multitude by Dr. Maynard, and at once commenced, in a conversational, plain, and straightforward style, an explanation of his mission among them, which is too well understood to require capitulation.

When he sat down, Chief Seattle arose with all the dignity of a senator, who carries the responsibilities of a great nation on his shoulders. Placing one hand on the, governor's head and slowly pointing heavenward with the index finger of the other, he commenced his memorable address in solemn and impressive tones.

"Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion on our fathers for centuries untold, and which, to us, looks eternal, may change. Today it is fair, tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds. My words are like stars that never set. What Seattle says, the great chief, Washington [1], can rely upon, with as much certainty as our paleface brothers can rely upon the return of the seasons.

"The son of the white chief says his father sends us greetings of friendship and good will. This is kind, for we know he has little need of our friendship in return, because his people are many. They are like the grass that covers the vast prairies, while my people are few, and resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain.

"The great, and I presume also good, white chief sends us word that he wants to buy our lands but is willing to allow us to reserve enough to live on comfortably. This indeed appears generous, for the red man no longer has rights that he need respect, and the offer may be wise, also, for we are no longer in need of a great country.

"There was a time when our people covered the whole land, as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor. But that time has long since passed away with the greatness of tribes now almost forgotten. I will not mourn over our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers for hastening it, for we, too, may have been somewhat to blame.

"When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, their hearts also are disfigured and turn black, and then their cruelty is relentless and knows no bounds, and our old men are not able to restrain them.

"But let us hope that hostilities between the red man and his paleface brothers may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

"True it is, that revenge, with our young braves, is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives. But old men who stay at home in times of war, and old women, who have sons to lose, know better.

"Our great father Washington, for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since George has moved his boundaries to the north; our great and good father, I say, sends us word by his son, who, no doubt, is a great chief among his people, that if we do as he desires, he will protect us. His brave armies will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his great ships of war will fill our harbors so that our ancient enemies far to the northward, the Simsiams and Hydas, will no longer frighten our women and old men. Then he will be our father and we will be his children.

"But can this ever be? Your God loves your people and hates mine; he folds his strong arms lovingly around the white man and leads him as a father leads his infant son, but he has forsaken his red children; he makes your people wax strong every day, and soon they will fill the land; while my people are ebbing away like a fast-receding tide, that will never flow again. The white man's God cannot love his red children or he would protect them. They seem to be orphans and can look nowhere for help. How then can we become brothers? How can your father become our father and bring us prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness?

"Your God seems to us to be partial. He came to the white man. We never saw Hirn; never even heard His voice; He gave the white man laws but He had no word for His red children whose teeming millions filled this vast continent as the stars fill the firmament. No, we are two distinct races and must ever remain so. There is little in common between us. The ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their final resting place is hallowed ground, while you wander away from the tombs of your fathers seemingly without regret.

"Your religion was written on tables of stone by the iron finger of an angry God, lest you might forget it, The red man could never remember nor comprehend it.

"Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors, the dream of our old men, given them by the great Spirit, and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

"Your dead cease to love you and the homes of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb. They wander far off beyond the stars, are soon forgotten, and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its winding rivers, its great mountains and its sequestered vales, and they ever yearn in tenderest affection over the lonely hearted living and often return to visit and comfort them.

"Day and night cannot dwell together. The red man has ever fled the approach of the white man, as the changing mists on the mountainside flee before the blazing morning sun.

"However, your proposition seems a just one, and I think my folks will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them, and we will dwell apart and in peace, for the words of the great white chief seem to be the voice of nature speaking to my people out of the thick darkness that is fast gathering around them like a dense fog floating inward from a midnight sea.

"It matters but little where we pass the remainder of our days. They are not many.

"The Indian's night promises to be dark. No bright star hovers about the horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Some grim Nemesis of our race is on the red man's trail, and wherever he goes he will still hear the sure approaching footsteps of the fell destroyer and prepare to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter. A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of all the mighty hosts that once filled this broad land or that now roam in fragmentary bands through these vast solitudes will remain to weep over the tombs of a people once as powerful and as hopeful as your own.

"But why should be repine? Why should I murmur at the fate of my people? Tribes are made up of individuals and are no better than they. Men come and go like the waves of the sea. A tear, a tamanawus, a dirge, and they are gone from our longing eyes forever. Even the white man, whose God walked and talked with him, as friend to friend, is not exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see.

"We will ponder your proposition, and when we have decided we will tell you. But should we accept it, I here and now make this the first condition: That we will not be denied the privilege, without molestation, of visiting at will the graves of our ancestors and friends. Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, ever plain and grove has been hallowed by some fond memory or some sad experience of my tribe,

"Even the rocks that seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun along the silent seashore in solemn grandeur thrill with memories of past events connected with the fate of my people, and the very dust under your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is the ashes of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch, for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred.

"The sable braves, and fond mothers, and glad-hearted maidens, and the little children who lived and rejoiced here, and whose very names are now forgotten, still love these solitudes, and their deep fastness at eventide grow shadowy with the presence of dusky spirits. And when the last red man shall have perished from the earth and his memory among white men shall have become a myth, these shores shall swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children shall think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway or in the silence of the woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night, when the streets of your cities and villages shall be silent, and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless."

Other speakers followed, but I took no notes. Governor Stevens' reply was brief. He merely promised to meet them in general council on some future occasion to discuss the proposed treaty. Chief Seattle's promise to adhere to the treaty, should one be ratified, was observed to the letter, for he was ever the unswerving and faithful friend of the white man. The above is but a fragment of his speech, and lacks all the charm lent by the grace and earnestness of the sable old orator, and the occasion. - H.A. Smith.

H.A.Smith´s own remarks:

[1]. The Indians in early times thought that Washington was still alive. They knew the name to be that of a president, and when they heard of the president at Washington they mistook the name of the city for the name of the reigning chief. They thought, too, that King George was still England's monarch, because the Hudson Bay traders called themselves "King George's Men." This innocent deception the company was shrewd enough not to explain away, for the Indians had more respect for them than they would have had, had they known England was ruled by a woman. Some of us have learned better.

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EDITORAL COMMENTARY ...

It has been brought to my attention since our publication of the "Statement of Chief Seattle" (which I had read in a local newspaper in the wild west of Southern Ireland in the summer of 1977) that this statement, in fact, was not the statement made by the chief.

I therefore requested information from various parties in confirmation of this view, and if possible, supportive documentation. In the interim period this further information has been received. For example, someone who runs a surf shop advised me that they have a poster on their wall with the following quotation .....

HUMANKIND HAS NOT WOVEN THE WEB OF LIFE. WE ARE BUT ONE THREAD WITHIN IT. WHATEVER WE DO TO THE WEB, WE DO TO OURSELVES. ALL THINGS ARE BOUND TOGETHER. ALL THINGS CONNECT.

However, further information received seems to be rather more substantial, and I am therefore presenting it as the "Alternate Statement" of Chief Seattle. I believe that readers will find it just as profound (if not moreso) than what we may all believe to the "original".

In order to completely open concerning this "revelation" I will simply present the E-Mail information flow surrounding this matter as it was received and in the sequence it was received - culminating in the "Alternate Statement", and leave it up to the reader to come to his or her own conclusion in this matter, if one is warranted.

It is a cosmic tapestry upon which a terrestrial web is woven. Truth always has the property of rising from the baser sensitivities and making itself known to the wise .... this has not changed since ancient times. I therefore place value in both these statements which I have published - otherwise they would not be part of this small island of Inner Space known as Mountain Man Graphics.

Whether the inspiration of Chief Seattle in 1854, or whether the inspiration of one Ted Perry, Hollywood screenwriter, in the early '70's, or whether the inspiration of another, or both, or neither, or a host of other ancestors through which any and all "Life-View Statements" have evolved .... to my sensibility both these statements are worthy of note.

And it is for this wisdom manifest in both accounts, that I have published both accounts.

And I would like to take this opportunity to thank all these folk referenced in the Electonic-Mail-Trail which is presented, without further commentary, in the remained of this web document.

PRF Brown BCSLS {FreshWater} Mountain Man Graphics, AUSTRALIA

Initial E-MAIL Received

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 95 11:41:54 -0800
From: Jim Baldwin
Organization: International Secular Atavism To: [email protected] Subject: "Chief Seattle" is a hoax!!

The man who actually wrote that speech is a Hollywood screenwriter. He has *admitted* that he was assigned to look up the speech made by Seattle, but it was simply not very inspiring or significant in any way, and it certainly did not say anything about ecology. So he did what any Hollywood screenwriter would do: he wrote a *fictional* version of the speech, not reflecting what a Native American's attitude would be, but what a late 20th century "green" person would think.

Of course, I sent of a reply to Jim, and his answer follows ....

Further E-Mail Received ...

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 14:50:09 -0800 (PST)
From: Scribe Ortho-Priapulus MetaQuincunx
To: Mountain Man Subject: Re: "Chief Seattle" is a hoax!!

On Mon, 30 Oct 1995, Mountain Man wrote:

> >The man who actually wrote that speech is a Hollywood screenwriter.

> And his name was Longfellow right?
> And he also wrote the "Song of Hiawatha" ....

No, his name is Ted Perry and he wrote the speech in the late 70's for a movie called "Home" which was produced in the US by the Southern Baptist Convention. He had no idea that anyone would consider his work anything other than fiction, and he has spent quite a bit of time in the past few years trying to set the record straight. So I was wrong in calling it a hoax, it was just a misattribution that has gained a life of its own.

While the sentiment expressed in the speech is quite admirable, it is not made more so by being attributed to an Aboriginal leader. Furthermore, I think Mr. Perry deserves credit for the fine speech he has written, and if you attribute it to Seathl, you deny Mr. Perry his just credit. I realize you did not know this, a lot of people don't, and poor Mr. Perry has been beating his head against the wall trying to set the record straight, and meantime he's been unjustly villified for "falsifying" the historical record.

I'm emailing you some supporting documentation I found on the net, as well as the real, original Seathl speech, which says little or nothing about ecology. Perhaps you could put up the real Seathl speech alongside the correctly attributed Ted Perry speech. Just a thought.

Still further information received ...

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 14:54:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Scribe Ortho-Priapulus MetaQuincunx
To: Mountain Man Subject: Documentation regarding Ted Perry/Chief Seathl

This section is from the document '/Distribution list log/History/log.started.930627'.

>From [email protected] Thu Aug 19 16:58:00 1993
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 93 21:58:00 EST
From: Nicholas Clifford
Subject: Re: Chief Seattle
To: Multiple Recipients of

Since Ted Perry is a colleague of mine at Middlebury College, I followed the Seattle story as it broke in the New York Times a year or so ago. Prof. Perry has never tried to maintain that the speech was anything but a fictional version of what Seattle MIGHT have said; but various publishers and users of the speech decided that it would sell better if it was represented as containing the actual words of the chief. The original version (that is, the original Perry version) was indeed done as a film or a TV script for the Southern Baptist convention (Perry is a film historian and critic of some note).

If I remember correctly the stories in the TIMES about the whole affair, insofar as there is any record of the real Chief Seattle's speech, it suggests that he spoke not about the environment, but rather about simlarities and differences between Christianity (he was a Roman Catholic) and Native American religion.

And, as Jeffrey Russell has recently shown, the men and women of the European middle ages never believed in a flat earth; but the philosophes of the 18th cent. thought that the middle ages should have had such a belief, so they conveniently invented the version.

Nick Clifford, Middlebury College ------------------------------------------------------------- This section is from the document '/Distribution list log/History/log.started.930627'.

>From [email protected] Wed Aug 25 15:20:06 1993
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 93 15:20:06 GMT
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Chief Seattle
To: Multiple Recipients of

In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Sune Johansson) writes: >
> DID CHIEF SEATTLE SPEAK?
>
> Chief Seattle (17xx -1866) from the Suqvamish tribe, was called so by
> the white, and became worldfamous under this name, because they used
> his name for the town Seattle, Washington, USA.
> Since the beginning of the nineteen seventies, a speech, which had
> been made by him, has been a popular ingridient in the environment-
> debate. The speech critizise the white mans lack of culture, called
> civilization, especially our ruthless exploitation of nature.
> Later on it has been proofed, that the speech was written as a films-
> cript by a certain Ted Perry. The producer of this film "Home" was
> Southern Baptist Convention, who suppressed the authors name to make
> the impression more authentic!

The general tone of this posting is relatively conspiratorial. Perhaps someone should contact Ted Perry. National Public Radio did about two years ago and interviewed him for All Things Considered (before it switched to American Public Radio). Perry wrote it for a film, yes, and the name was not suppressed as some conspiracy, but I would assume for the same reason "Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away" was not followed by a credit. Perry himself was shocked to see it later, I believe for the first time in the Whole Earth catalog, with his name attached.

No one who ever looked into the question thought that Chief Seattle wrote the piece. He talks of the thousands of buffalo he had seen shot by white men from their trains. Chief Seattle never saw the trains, never saw the great herds of buffalo of the central plains, and ergo never saw thousands shot from the trains. Tracking down the actual author, however, was not obvious, and the event awaited, I believe, the NPR people. They started at Washington's State Historical Society where they were assured that the citation was false, but they could not say who had written it. From there, I don't know.

I have been collecting Seattle apocryphana in my head and the spread of this false speech is amazing. Michael Buhler, a Swiss, has translated it into French as a song (Ainsi parlait un veil indien). The Newberry Library, a relatively scholarly and serious institution, has done a (very nice) t-shirt. Of course greeting cards and bumper stickers.

Tom Lambert - lambertuni2a.unige.ch

Background to The "Alternate Statement" of Chief Seattle ...

To: Mountain Man Subject: The original Chief Seathl speech

Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1993 18:53:00 PDT
Subject: CHIEF SEATTLE'S 1854 ORATION
Original Sender: Gary Trujillo Mailing List: NATIVE-L ([email protected])

/* Written 4:41 pm Sep 5, 1993 by gates in igc:iearn.fp */ /* ---------- "CHIEF SEATTLE'S 1854 ORATION" ---------- */

AUTHENTIC TEXT OF CHIEF SEATTLE'S TREATY ORATION 1854

Source: "Four Wagons West,"

by Roberta Frye Watt, Binsford & Mort, Portland Ore., 1934. Originally published in the Seattle Sunday Star, Oct. 29 1887.

The text was produced by one "Dr." Smith, an early settler in Seattle, who took notes as Seattle spoke in the Suquamish dialect of central Puget sound Salish (Lushootseed), and created this text in English from those notes. Smith insisted that his version "contained none of the grace and elegance of the original" The last two sentences of the text here given have been considered for many years to have been part of the original, but are now known to have been added by an early 20th C. historian and ethnographic writer, A. C. Ballard.

There are many versions and excerpts from this text, including a wholly fraudulent version mentioning buffalo and the interconnectedness of all life which was written by a Hollywood screenwriter in the late 70's and which has gained wide currency. The bogus version has been quoted by individuals as prominent and diverse as former U.S. President Bush and Joseph Campbell.

At the time this speech was made it was commonly believed by whites and as well by many Indians that Native americas would inevitalby become extinct.

The "Alternate Statement" of Chief Seattle ...

Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.

My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.

The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and goodwill. This is kind of him for we know he has little need of our friendship in return. His people are many. They are like the grass that covers vast prairies. My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain. The great, and I presume -- good, White Chief sends us word that he wishes to buy our land but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably. This indeed appears just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect, and the offer may be wise, also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive country.

There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory. I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers with hastening it, as we too may have been somewhat to blame.

Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.

Our good father in Washington--for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since King George has moved his boundaries further north--our great and good father, I say, sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us. His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of war will fill our harbors, so that our ancient enemies far to the northward -- the Haidas and Tsimshians, will cease to frighten our women, children, and old men. He in reality he will be our father and we his children.

But can that ever be? Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine! He folds his strong protecting arms lovingly about the paleface and leads him by the hand as a father leads an infant son. But, He has forsaken His Red children, if they really are His. Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us. Your God makes your people wax stronger every day. Soon they will fill all the land.

Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return. The white man's God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness? If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface children.

We never saw Him. He gave you laws but had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between us.

To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget.

The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return.

Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun. However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indian's night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moon, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours.

But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.

Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits.

And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? - There is no death, only a change of worlds.

========================

There are two versions of the speech of Seattle, chief of the Suquamish. Below is one version. The other follows.

"Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

Chief Seattle, 1854.

It is said that this version was written by Ted Perry and he wrote the speech in the late 70's for a movie called "Home" which was produced in the US by the Southern Baptist Convention. He had no idea that anyone would consider his work anything other than fiction, and he has spent quite a bit of time in the past few years trying to set the record straight.

From the The Irish Press of Friday June 4th, 1976 ......

In 1854, "The Great White Chief" in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a "reservation" for the Indian people.

Chief Seattle's reply, published here in full, to mark World Environment Day tomorrow, has been described as one of the most beautiful and profound statements on the environment ever made:

"In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington's Puget Sound, delivered what is considered to be one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief, whose speech was in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000." -- Buckminster Fuller in Critical Path.

Chief Seattle's Thoughts

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of 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 buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man --- all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children.

So, we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you the land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father's grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care. His father's grave, and his children's birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different than your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of the insect's wings. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around the pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine.

The air is precious to the red man for all things share the same breath, the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must 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. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition - the white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be made more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know which the white man may one day discover; our God is the same God.

You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. The earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.

Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone.

The end of living and the beginning of survival.

[Chief Seattle's speech was submitted by Dr. Glenn T. Olds at Alaska's Future Frontiers conference in 1979.]

AUTHENTIC TEXT OF CHIEF SEATTLE'S TREATY ORATION 1854

Source: "Four Wagons West," by Roberta Frye Watt, Binsford & Mort, Portland Ore., 1934. Originally published in the Seattle Sunday Star, Oct. 29 1887.

The text was produced by one "Dr." Smith, an early settler in Seattle, who took notes as Seattle spoke in the Suquamish dialect of central Puget sound Salish (Lushootseed), and created this text in English from those notes. Smith insisted that his version "contained none of the grace and elegance of the original" The last two sentences of the text here given have been considered for many years to have been part of the original, but are now known to have been added by an early 20th C. historian and ethnographic writer, A. C. Ballard.

There are many versions and excerpts from this text, including a wholly fraudulent version mentioning buffalo and the interconnectedness of all life which was written by a Hollywood screenwriter in the late 70's and which has gained wide currency. The bogus version has been quoted by individuals as prominent and diverse as former U.S. President Bush and Joseph Campbell.

At the time this speech was made it was commonly believed by whites and as well by many Indians that Native americas would inevitalby become extinct.

The "Alternate Statement" of Chief Seattle ...

Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.

My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.

The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship and goodwill. This is kind of him for we know he has little need of our friendship in return. His people are many. They are like the grass that covers vast prairies. My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain. The great, and I presume -- good, White Chief sends us word that he wishes to buy our land but is willing to allow us enough to live comfortably. This indeed appears just, even generous, for the Red Man no longer has rights that he need respect, and the offer may be wise, also, as we are no longer in need of an extensive country.

There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind- ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory. I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers with hastening it, as we too may have been somewhat to blame.

Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.

Our good father in Washington--for I presume he is now our father as well as yours, since King George has moved his boundaries further north--our great and good father, I say, sends us word that if we do as he desires he will protect us. His brave warriors will be to us a bristling wall of strength, and his wonderful ships of war will fill our harbors, so that our ancient enemies far to the northward -- the Haidas and Tsimshians, will cease to frighten our women, children, and old men. He in reality he will be our father and we his children.

But can that ever be? Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine! He folds his strong protecting arms lovingly about the paleface and leads him by the hand as a father leads an infant son. But, He has forsaken His Red children, if they really are His. Our God, the Great Spirit, seems also to have forsaken us. Your God makes your people wax stronger every day. Soon they will fill all the land.

Our people are ebbing away like a rapidly receding tide that will never return. The white man's God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness? If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface children.

We never saw Him. He gave you laws but had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between us.

To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget.

The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return.

Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun. However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell apart in peace, for the words of the Great White Chief seem to be the words of nature speaking to my people out of dense darkness.

It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. The Indian's night promises to be dark. Not a single star of hope hovers above his horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Grim fate seems to be on the Red Man's trail, and wherever he will hear the approaching footsteps of his fell destroyer and prepare stolidly to meet his doom, as does the wounded doe that hears the approaching footsteps of the hunter.

A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours.

But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see.

We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.

Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad, happy hearted maidens, and even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits.

And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? - There is no death, only a change of worlds.

Further References ...

In regard to further research concerning the North American Indian people, their history and philosophy, their beliefs and legends, there are a growing number of community groups and other sources and endeavours. These include ...