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Wasdom Teachings

Chief Seattle was a hereditary leader of the Squamish Tribe. The speech he recited during treaty negotiations in 1854 is regarded as one of the greatest statements ever made concerning the relationship between a people and the earth. It was published in the Seattle Sunday Star, Seattle, Washington Territory, October 29, 1887. Quotes from that speech are below.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters;
the deer, the horse, the great eagle,
these are our brothers.
The rocky crest, the juices of the meadows,
the body heat of pony, and man
-all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word
that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us.

...we will consider your offer to buy our land.
If we decide to accept, I will make one condition:
the white man must treat the beasts of this land
as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.
I have seen a thousand rotting buffalos on the prairie,
Left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.
I am savage and I do not understand how the smoking
iron horse can be more important than the buffalo
that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts?
If the beasts were gone, men would die from a great
loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts,
soon happens to man. All things are connected.
This we know. The earth does not belong to man;
man belongs to the earth.
This we know. All things are connected like the blood
which unites one family.
All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

The Extended Circle: A Dictionary of Humane Thought. ed, Jon Wynne-Tyson.
Centaur Press: Fontwell, Sussex 1985 pp. 317-318.