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Friday, September 16, 2011

letter from chief seathl (seattle) to president franklin pierce, 1854

Chief Seathl

I found this letter in a book called Mother Earth Spirituality by Ed McGaa, Eagle Man.  Please read mindfully...


"The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land.  The Great Chief also sends 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.  For we know that if we do not sell, the white man may come with guns and take our land.

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 every humming insect is hold in the memory and experience of my people.  The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.  So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us...

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.  Man did no t 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 the reservation you have for my people.  We will live apart, and in peace.

It matters little where we spend the rest of our days.  Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat.  Our warriors have felt the shame, and after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet foods and strong drinks.  It matters little where we spend the rest of our days.  They are not many.  A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the great tribes that once lived on this earth or that roam now in small bands in the woods will be left to mourn the graves of a people once as powerful and hopeful as yours.  But why should I mourn the passing of my people?  Tribes are made of men, nothing more.  Men come and go, like the waves of the sea.  Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

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 teh 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 all 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 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 it 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 they love this earth as a newborne loves its mother's heartbeat.  So, if we sell our land, love it as we've loved it.  Care for it as we've cared for it.  Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it.  And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it...  as God loves 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..."


There's nothing to add to this letter; Chief Seattle so gracefully says it all.  But I will share my intention for posting...  and it's not to depress you.  

My intention is to encourage us (myself included) to awaken from this sleepy state we all "live" in.  We have worked so hard to throw off the earth's natural balance.  We humans have topped the food chain for so long that we've forgotten how much we rely on those at the "bottom" to live peacefully.  Truly peacefully.  And what is the bottom after all?  The tiniest seed inspires our gardens.  An invisible bug destroys our crops.  Every living organism on this planet is created from one source; and we are all of equal value, all built 'round the same loving core.  But humans are hellbent on abusing the balance.  So why has God allowed us to come to this?  Why did God's divine plan include the disappearance of the hunter/gatherer and the emergence of the mini-mart?  What do we do?  How do we change?  Do we toss out our SUVs and maintain strict diets of leaves and berries?  Not possible, right?    

I have a theory.  (Of course I have a theory, don't I always?  Ha!)  Over the years we humans have no doubt lost our collective way.  But, in light of divine order, God (or whatever you want to call it) must have had a hand in it.  This enormous earthly shit show that we've created for ourselves is therefore happening ON PURPOSE.  So WHY???

We are here to learn the truth about God's love through its opposite energy.  Since the Native Americans already had thorough understanding of God's love and were able to live harmoniously with the earth, their race was no longer of value for the purpose of spiritual growth.  The race had fully matured.  So God let the white man grow stronger to destroy the weak, conquer the woman, train the killer and fuck up the planet to the point that this beautiful, breathing, living, feeling Mother Earth now revolts.  It's not that the white man is bad.  He's just playing his role, doing his job so our souls can better understand the true meaning of love through its equal opposite.  And there's plenty of opposite to go around.

Honestly, between you and me, sometimes I get really pissed off at God.  I mean, the heartache and pain and suffering that we experience, and that we subject the planet to, is effing horrific.  And God just keeps on sending down new souls to participate in his big old science experiment.  So frustrating.  I get so torn up about this,  teetering between moments of Holy shit, I love this life! and Holy shit, I want out!   But in the end, my heart always pulls me back to the balanced middle - the place where I know I have a purpose for living and I feel deep desire to do my earthly job to the best of my abilities. 

We cannot return to the days of building wigwams, feathered headdresses and birch baskets.  It's impossible.  And evidently, this lifestyle was not divinely intended for us.  So we need to focus on doing our jobs with the tools that God has given us today.  What has God given you?  A voice?  A loving heart?  A talent?  Great legs?  Maybe you think God forgot to give you anything at all?  If that's the case, think again.  You're not devoid of gifts, you've just wandered off the path.  We each possess special talents and our job is to find out what they are and to use them to find ourselves again. 

I think that my current job is to encourage people to connect with the truth.  (Side note:  not MY truth, THE truth...  because my stories are just shared ideas that might shine on one tiny corner of the truth, or maybe might just shine on me.  Who knows?)  Even if these words reach an audience of one, and that one person is inspired to look within, I'm happy and my job is underway.  Soon I might move onto another job; as life is constantly changing I imagine my calling will change, too.  Thankfully, God has gifted me with flexibility and I know I'll be able to respond to the next opportunity when it presents itself.  

White, red, brown or black, our lives are in the hands of the Universe.  That might be the only thing I know for sure.

Peace, love, gratitude,


  1. That was a great letter to read, V - and one that could be true today about so many people/things. It's too bad that we've become such a "me me me" society and not one of "what can I do to give back or help others"..
    thank you! :)

  2. i agree, kathy. this letter sits deep in my gut and makes me want better for our world. xoxoxv

  3. Could you give me the page number in Mother Earth Spirituality by Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, that this quote is on, "Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did no t 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 the reservation you have for my people. We will live apart, and in peace." ?
    I'm trying to cite it in a paper, but don't have access to the book!

  4. sure. it's just after the foreword. the page number is "xi." the book was published by harper collins, NY, copyright 1989.