Until recently, the following letter by Chief Seattle to President Pierce hung on a wall in our bathroom.
It is titled:
Where Is The Eagle – Gone:
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…
How can you buy or sell the sky – the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. 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 holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s graves and his children’s birthright is forgotten. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the Redman. But perhaps it is because the Redman is a savage and does not understand.
There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to listen to the leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am a savage and do not understand…
The whites, too, shall pass – perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by the talking wires, where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival….
Chief Seattle to President Pierce in 1855
Beautiful wise sentiments from a “savage” don’t you think?
I love local history.
(It is one of my favorite ways to stay grounded, mentally and spiritually, to counter the shifting sands of our culture’s definition of right, truth, and “normal”.
I wanted to know more about this Chief Seattle a few weeks ago, because he struck me as a very wise man, so I started doing a little digging.
What I found out took my breath away…..
The letter was a complete fabrication.
Let me say it again….
The damn letter was completely made up.
( I normally don’t swear, but it is a damn letter), was not written by Chief Seattle in 1855 at all, but more likely by either Dr Smith, a white physician 20 years after the fact or according to Snopes:
…” written by a screenwriter in 1971.”
I felt mentally and emotionally violated.
Contrary to the nonsense taught in
some many of the halls of higher learning, I believe there is such a thing as absolute Truth.
Honestly and truthfulness are foundational qualities most of us value in our dealings with other people, whether it’s your local car mechanic, your family Doctor or someone you choose as a life partner.
Things go south pretty quickly when trust is broken.
It can take years (never?) to re-establish trust in a relationship.
I’ve personally only dealt with two chronic liars, and known a few more from a distance.
Talk to me about trust, integrity and or lying.
Have you ever been wounded by the deception of another person?
How do you discern if a person is trustworthy?
I know one of my fellow blogging friends recently wrote about being completely suckered by someone both he and and his wife thought was a trustworthy person, only to find out they were being played…
I recently came out of a relationship that was riddled with deception, and it has left me guarded and reluctant to open myself up again in the same way as well.
How do you keep from being jaded?