Chief Seattle's Speech
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Time Period
1854
Description
Chief Seattle (1780-1866), also known as Sealth, was the leader of the Suquamish Indians in the Puget Sound area of what is now Seattle. In 1854, during a visit from the Washington territorial governor, Chief Seattle gave a speech about losing his native land to white people.

There are no written transcripts of Chief Seattle’s speech, though versions transcribed by non-Indian observers first began appearing in print in 1887. In the 1970s, the speech was dramatically rewritten for a movie -- and it’s that version that became popular, with eloquent language about Indian spirituality and respect for Nature. "The Earth is our mother," this version read in part. "We are part of the Earth and the Earth is part of us."

Despite scholarly proofs that the 20th century version was inaccurate, this rewrite became synonymous with Chief Seattle's name and remains an enduring emblem for linking the environmental movement to Native American spirituality.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Other Groups: Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Chief Seattle portrait- Wikimedia Commons
Book/Journal Source(s)
Jenkins, Philip , 2004. Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press.
Web Source(s)
http://www.synaptic.bc.ca/ejournal/wslibrry.htm#.WLd8FBiZOi4
Washington State Library: "Chief Seattle Speech"
http://www.historynet.com/chief-seattle
HistoryNet: "Chief Seattle"
https://suquamish.nsn.us/home/about-us/chief-seattle/
Suquamish Tribe website, "Chief Seattle"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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