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How can you buy or sell The Earth ?

In 1854, the United State Government offered to buy two million acres of Indian land in the Northwest. Below is a translation of chief Sealth’s  (Seattle) reply to President Franklien in December of the year. It has been described as the most beautiful and prophetic statement on the environment ever made.


The Dwamish Chief,Sealth
(photo credit : wikipedia)

The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also send us words of friendship and good will.  This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer.

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 scared to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.  The sap which course through the trees carries the memories of the red man. So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes o buy our land, he ask much us…

This we know: All the things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. 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.  But we will consider your offer to go to he reservation you have for my people. We will live apart, and in peace.

One things we know, which the white man may one day discover -our God is the sam God. You may think to own our land: but you cannot.

He is the God of man; and his compassion is equal for the red man and white. This 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. Continue to 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 slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed. and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket ? Gone. Where is the eagle ? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt ? The end of living and the beginning of survival. So we will consider your offer to buy the land

If we agree, if will be to secure the reservation you have promised. There, perhaps, we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last red man has vanished from the earth, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people. For the love this earth as a newborne  loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell our land, love it as we’ve loved. Care for it as we’ve car for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And preserve it for you children, and love it ..as God love us all. One thing we know. Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all.

We shall see


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