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Chief Seattle's speech (he wasn't a Mohican)...........

S eattle, (1786 - 06/07/1866), also called Sealth known, the chief of the small tribe was the Duwamish in today's US state of Washington. He was the son of Suquamish chief Schweabe, whose people inhabited the islands in Puget Sound in northwest Washington state

H äuptling Seattle has its now famous speech likely to Issac I. Stevens, the new governor and in charge of Washington Territories administrative officials of Indian Affairs addressed. Most historians believe the speech was delivered in December 1854 while Stevens was on a preliminary excursion to those tribes he intended to force into reservations.


My words are like the stars

Brethren: Heaven took pity on our fathers for many hundreds of years. He seems unchanging to us, but he can change. Today he shines. Tomorrow it may be covered by clouds.
My words are like the stars. They never go down. Great Chief Washington can count on Seattle's words just as our white brothers can count on the return of the seasons.
The White Chief's son says his father sends us words of friendship and goodwill. That's kind of him, because we know he doesn't need much of our friendship on his part. His people are numerous like the grass of the prairies. My people are few, like the trees sown in the grasslands by the storm.
The great - and good, I believe - White Chief gives us word that he wishes to buy our land. But He wants to provide enough of it for us to have a comfortable life. That seems generous, because the red man no longer has any rights to respect. It may also be wise, because we don't need a big country anymore. Once upon a time we populated this land as sea waves wash on the wind over shell-strewn shallows. But those times are over and with them the size of the now almost forgotten tribes.

But I will not mourn the end of my people, nor will I blame our white brothers for it. Perhaps we are also partly to blame. When our young men become angry at an injustice, real or imagined, they disfigure their faces with black paint. Then their hearts are black and ugly too. They are tough and their cruelty knows no bounds. And our elders cannot hold them back.
Let's hope that the wars between the red man and his white brothers never flare up again. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. For young warriors revenge is a satisfaction, even if it means losing their lives in the process. But the elderly who are left behind in times of war, mothers who have sons to lose - they know better.
Our great father Washington - for he must now be ours as your father since George moved his borders north - our great and good father gives us tidings through his son, who is surely a great chief among his own, that he us wants to protect if we do what he wants. His brave soldiers will be a wall of protection for my people, our harbors will be full of his great warships. Then our old enemies in the north - the Haidas and Tsimshians - will no longer frighten our wives and elders. Then he will be our father and we his children.

But can that ever be? Your God loves your people and hates mine. He takes the white man in his strong arms and leads him by the hand as a father leads his little boy. He left his red children. He makes your people grow stronger every day. Soon it will flood the whole country. But my people are like the ebb, we will not return. No, the white man's god cannot love his red children, otherwise he would protect them. We are orphans now. There is nobody who can help us.
So how can we be brothers? How can your father be our father, make us prosper, and send us dreams of future greatness? Your god is biased. To the white man he came. We never saw him, never even heard his voice. He gave the white man bids, but he had not a word for his red children, who once populated this land as numerous as the stars in the sky.
No, we are different races and we must remain so. We have little in common.
The ashes of our fathers are sacred to us. Their graves are sacred ground. But you are strays, leaving the graves of your fathers and thinking only of yourselves. Your religion was carved on tablets of stone by the iron finger of an angry god, lest you forget it. The red man could never understand or remember them. Our religion is the customs of our forefathers, the dreams of our elders sent to them by the Great Spirit, and the visions of our peace chiefs. And it is written in the hearts of our people. Your dead forget you and the land of their birth as soon as they enter the afterlife and walk among the stars. They are quickly forgotten and will not return.
Our dead never forget this beautiful earth. She is her mother. They always love and remember their rivers, their mountains, their valleys. They long for the living who are also lonely and long for the dead. And often their spirits return to seek us out and comfort us.
Day and night cannot coexist. The red man has always receded before the approaching white man, like the mists rolling on the mountainside before the blazing morning sun.

No, day and night cannot coexist. The red man has always retreated from the advancing white man, like the mists on the mountainside before the morning sun.

Your offer seems fair, I believe my people will accept it and go to the reservation you offer. We will live there for ourselves and peacefully. For the words of the great white chief are like the words of nature spoken to my people on deep darkness - a darkness that gathers around us like the mists that come from the midnight sea.


It doesn't really matter where we spend our last days. There aren't many left. The night of the Indians turns black. No bright star will shine in the distance. The wind is sad. Fate overtakes the red man. Wherever he goes he will hear the approaching footsteps of his destroyer and prepare to die like the wounded doe that hears the hunter's footsteps.
Few moons yet, few winters yet, and none of the children of the great tribes that once dwelt in this expanse, or now roam the woods in small bands, will live to mourn at the graves of a people once so mighty and so hopeful as yours was.
But why should I mourn for my perishing people? A tribe is composed of individuals, nothing else. People come and go like the waves of the sea. A tear, a prayer to the Great Spirit, a dirge, and they are gone forever from our longing gaze. Even the white man whose God walked among them and spoke to them as friend to friend, even he cannot escape the fate of all. Maybe we're brothers after all. We will see.

We will consider your offer. When we have decided, we will let you know. Should we accept it, I make this condition here and now: that we shall not be denied the right to visit the graves of our ancestors and friends at any time.
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every mountain, valley, glade, forest is sacred in the memory and experience of my people. Even the mute rock of the shore echoes with the events and memories of my people's lives. The ground beneath your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, for it is the ashes of our forefathers. Our bare feet feel the familiarity. The earth is filled with the life of our own.
The young men, the mothers, the girls, the little children who once lived happily here, they all still love these lonely places. In the evening the woods darken in the presence of the dead. When the last red man is gone from the face of the earth and white men remember him only as a story is remembered, these shores will still swarm with the invisible dead of my people. And if your children's children think they are alone in the woods and fields, in the shops, on the streets or in the quiet of the woods, then they will not be alone. There is no place in this country where a man can be alone. At night, when the streets of your towns and villages are silent and you think they are deserted, then there throng the returning spirits of those who once inhabited them, and they will still love those places.

The white man will never be alone.  So may he deal justly and kindly with my people. Even the dead have power.

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