7.28.2011

from Cheif Sealth

How can you buy or sell the earth?
...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 holy in the memory and experience of my people...
This we know: All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is mearly a strand it it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself...

-Chief Sealth

This is an excerpt from Chief Sealth's famous speech he gave at a large outdoor gathering in Seattle on March 11th, 1854 concerning the concession of native lands to the settlers. I first read this beautiful statement on behalf of the environment many years ago hanging on the wall in an iconic Aspen restaurant called La Cocina. It hung next to the payphone and as I was a waitress there for years, I read it and re-read it many times. La Cocina closed in 2005. After that I searched the internet for this poster and never could find it. Years later I was working on a ranch in Aspen and walked into an old cabin on the property and there it was - the same poster hanging crooked on the wall in an rickety old frame. I was thrilled! I always wanted to write it down but never thought I would find it again. I excitedly told the owner of the ranch my story. Time passed and I never did go back to write it down. When we moved on from the ranch, she gave me a very special departing gift. She had re-framed the poster for me. Now it hangs in our home. I can read it again and again to remind myself just how much I feel connected with the earth as others do and have before me.

Read the complete statement here.

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