Seattle was also a warrior with a considerable reputation for daring raids on other Indian tribes. After smallpox wiped out many of his people, he realized the inevitability of the coming tide of white settlement. In 1854 he made a speech to more than a thousand of his people gathered to greet the Government’s Indian superintendent, Isaac Stevens.
Most historians agree that the speech was delivered in the Salish dialect. A year later, the chief signed a treaty with the United States Government, ceding much of the area on which the city of Seattle now stands.
There is only one record of what Chief Seattle did say in 1854, a translation of the chief’s speech done by Dr. Henry Smith who published his recollection in 1887 — 33 years after it was given. According to Smith, Seattle merely praised the generosity of the President in buying his land.
Chief Seattle died in 1866, more than a hundred years before the words that would be attributed to him were penned.
So even though Chief Seattle did not give that much-quoted speech, he was an honored leader of his tribe, and well-respected by the white men who bought the Indian land. Otherwise, why would a city be named after him?
After church, I turned on my computer and saw this quote on Facebook: “Mean is easy. Mean is lazy. Mean is self-satisfied and slothful. You know what takes effort? Being kind. Being patient. Being respectful.” CNN Anchor Jake Tapper addressing graduates at UMass Amherst.
Was it a coincidence or serendipity? As our nation reels from another mass shooting at a school, this one in Sante Fe, Texas, we need more kindness, more patience, and more respect. Young people endowed with those virtues are far less likely to pick up a gun and kill their contemporaries than kids who have not had those virtues instilled in them by their parents.
What do you think? Can you see the correlation between the Chief Seattle quotes and that of Jake Tapper?