Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Remembering Chief Seattle...!

Many times we think that most of the native Americans were always at war with the white settlers.

A good example of one who wasn't was Chief Seattle. In fact, the settlers thought enough of him to name a settlement after him...and that namesake is still going by the name today!

I think that from time to time, we need to stop and remember that settlers had friends like chief Seattle and his people there to help and guide us in the development of some areas in the United States. Chief Seattle became a wise and trusted friend, and his counsel was well received!

Thirteen years after American settlers founded the city named for him, Chief Seattle dies in a nearby village of his people.

Born sometime around 1790, Seattle (Seathl) was a chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes who lived around the Pacific Coast bay that is today called Puget Sound. He was the son of a Suquamish father and a Duwamish mother, a lineage that allowed him to gain influence in both tribes.

By the early 1850s, small bands of Euro-Americans had begun establishing villages along the banks of Puget Sound. Chief Seattle apparently welcomed his new neighbors and seems to have treated them with kindness. In 1853, several settlers moved to a site on Elliott Bay to establish a permanent town--since Chief Seattle had proved so friendly and welcoming, the settlers named their tiny new settlement in his honor.

The Euro-American settlers picked the site because of the luxuriant forest on the bluff behind the new village. The Gold Rush in California had created a booming market for timber, and soon most of the villagers were at work cutting the trees and "skidding" them down a long chute to a newly constructed sawmill. The chute became known as "skid road," and in time, it became the main street in Seattle, though it kept its original name. When the Seattle business district later moved north, the area became a haven for drunks and derelicts. Consequently, "skid road" or "skid row" became lingo for the dilapidated area of any town.

Not all the Puget Sound Indians, however, were as friendly toward the white settlers as Chief Seattle. War broke out in 1855, and Indians from the White River Valley south of Seattle attacked the village. Although he believed the whites would eventually drive his people to extinction, Chief Seattle argued that resistance would merely anger the settlers and hasten the Indians' demise. By 1856, many of the hostile Indians had concluded that Chief Seattle was right and made peace.

Rather than fight, Seattle tried to learn white ways. Jesuit missionaries introduced him to Catholicism, and he became a devout believer. He observed morning and evening prayers throughout the rest of his life. The people of the new city of Seattle also paid some respect to the chief's traditional religion. The Suquamish believed the mention of a dead man's name disturbs his eternal rest. To provide Chief Seattle with a pre-payment for the difficulties he would face in the afterlife, the people of Seattle levied a small tax on themselves to use the chief's name. He died in 1866 at the approximate age of 77.

Makes you wonder just how well the settlers would have fared without a leader of the natives, like Chief Seattle, on the side of peace and co-operation.

Coffee on the patio today. Let's send out some good wishes for our friends that are being sorely tested with extreme weather in so many different locations! A few extra prayers certainly can't hurt!


Gorges Smythe said...

There were good Indians and bad Indians, just as there were good whites and bad whites back then (and now). Being against the whites wasn't the deciding factor in my book, though. What could we expect them to do when we stole their land?

Ben in Texas said...

Thanks for the history lesson about an area I don't know a lot about.
And speaking of the American Indians, IF they ever get a good enough lawyer , all us ole Pale Skin white folks gonna be looking for a new homeland!!

linda m said...

Great history lesson and a good reminder that there are good and bad people in all races. I am praying for all those being affected by the extreme weather this year.

Dizzy-Dick said...

That chief was wise, way beyound most of the other indian leaders.

BigBadSis@gmail.com said...

I personally think that more Native American Indians were welcoming to the white settlers than given credit. Just as one sees in movies about visitors from space, it seems that we always want to meet the unknown with weapons or a dissecting scapel. Now it is an honorable thing to be "Native American". How does the saying go?...."A day late and a dollar short.". Thanks for the good lesson this a.m.
Love you.

SHARON said...

It's a shame the 'white' people didn't learn and incorporate knowledge and such from the Native Americans and the African Americans, instead of treating them as history tells us.
I think this country would have been a whole lot better for it.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I'm sure we would have acted the very same way.

Every race has those that want to get along and those, I'm sure, that don't want to be pushed around!

Makes for an interesting study!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Ben...
I'm sure that many of us don't know enough about those times.

It's a shame that what we are taught in school is often a long way from the truth!

Hey buddy...I sure am glad you could come by today!

Hey Linda...
It seems to me that the weather is absolutely crazy this year!

Between the fires, the floods, the droughts, it makes it easy to see how some folks can envision the end of the world!

I really appreciate you coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey DD...
I think he was more afraid for his people than we know.

He saw that getting along was the best way to avoid unnecessary killing, but I don't know if it helped!

He certainly does appear to have been a wise man!

Thanks for dropping by, my friend!

Hey Sis...
Seems that the first thing we always do to welcome the unfamiliar is to reach for a weapon!

Being cautious is one thing, but being hostile is another!

Wonder if we can ever learn from our past?

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sharon...
I guess we will never learn, and the other countries around the globe are the same!

Sad commentary on the human race, isn't it?

Many thanks for dropping in today!

russell1200 said...

Almost all the native tribes had enemy tribes that they were facing. The early settlers/traders brought with them access to guns and metal impliments which made life easier and allowed them to fight their rivals more effectively.

There are a number of cases where tribes moved closer to settlements/trading posts to get better access to trade goods.

Marjie said...

Everything was more complicated than folks will allow today. Chief Seattle and the Cherokee were friendly to white settlers, as were some of the northeastern tribes, and some were downright nasty.

As for Manhattan being sold for $24 worth of beads, I read a book recently that they actually thought they just leased the land to the Dutch, and they had the right to just stay in any house there, and do what they pleased, and they did so! Eventually they moved on, because buildings don't mix well with hunting and gathering!