Place of Clear Salt Water

Let him (the White Man) be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless.

Please remind me to write about Chief Seattle, a celebrated environmentalist, whose words we never heeded. A speech I read solidified my desire and effort and mindset to care for the land, even without the religious baggage of having “dominion over all.”

I have a booklet I bought or was given when I lived in Seattle and I think this was the speech it contained. Sadly the account here makes it seem that some of it might have been rhetorical floursh added decades after the occurrence, much like accounts of Jesus that have warped and shaped the Western world and the Manifest Destiny destruction of so many of the the Native American peoples, and some of their ways of living with and as a part of nature.

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. … Ever 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.