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Historic places and people in the land of milk and honey: Wisconsin's treasure: a tribute to our past, a celebration of the present and our commitment to continue the good life

[Indian Chief Seattle],   p. 87 PDF (380.9 KB)

Page 87

  Indian Chief Seattle writes to the
  President of the United States on Sept.
  12, 1855.
  "Dear Mr. President,
  "So the Great White Chief in Washington sends
  word he wishes to buy our land.
  "How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of
  the land? The idea is strange to us. We do not own
  the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the
  waters. How then can you buy them from us, dear
  "Every part of the earth is sacred to my people.
  Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore,
  every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and
  humming insect is holy in the memory and experi-
  ence of my people.
  "The air is precious to the Redman, for all things
  share the same breath - the beasts... the
  trees... the man. The White Man does not seem to
  notice the air that he breathes. But, perhaps
  because I am savage, I do not understand. But one
  thing we do know, which one day the White Man
  may discover... our God is the same God.
  "When the last Redman has vanished from the
  earth and the memory is only a shadow of a cloud
  across the prairie, these shores and forests will still
  hold the spirits of my people. For they love this
  earth as the newborn loves his mother's heartbeat.
  "If we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it.
  Care for it as we have cared for it. And with all
  your strength, treat the beasts of this land as your
  brothers. For if all the beasts are gone, man would
  die from a great loneliness of spirit. All things are
  connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the
  sons of the earth. The earth is precious to Him,
  and to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon
  his creator."
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