Chief Sealth Poems

Poems » chief sealth

Chief Sealth
Chief Seattle (also Sealth, Seathl or See-ahth) (c. 1786 June 7, 1866), was a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes in what is now the U.S. state of Washington. A prominent figure among his people, he pursued a path of accommodation to white settlers, forming a personal relationship with David Swinson "Doc" Maynard. Seattle, Washington was named after the Chief. Sealth was born around 1786 on or near Blake Island, Washington. His father, Schweabe, was a leader of the Suquamish tribe, and his mother was Wood-sho-lit-sa of the Duwamish[1]. In later years, Sealth claimed to have seen the ships of the Vancouver Expedition as they explored Puget Sound. Sealth earned his reputation at a young age as a leader and a warrior, ambushing and defeating groups of enemy raiders coming up the Green River from the Cascade foothills, and attacking the Chemakum and the S'Klallam, tribes living on the Olympic Peninsula. Like many of his contemporaries, he owned slaves captured during his raids. He was tall and broad for a Puget Sound native at nearly six feet; Hudson's Bay Company traders gave him the nickname Le Gros (The Big One). He was also known as an orator; and when he addressed an audience, his voice is said to have carried from his camp to the Stevens Hotel at First and Marion, a distance of 3/4ths of a mile. He took wives from the village of Tola'ltu just southeast of Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay (now part of West Seattle). His first wife La-Dalia died after bearing a daughter. A second wife, Olahl, bore him three sons and four daughters. The most famous of his children was his first, Kikisoblu or Princess Angeline. He was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, and given the baptismal name Noah, probably in 1848 near Olympia, Washington but the meaning of this ceremony may be called into question by his references to his people's gods in his most famous speech (below). For all his skill, Sealth was gradually losing ground to the more powerful Patkanim of the Snohomish when white settlers starting showing up in force. When his people were driven from their traditional clamming grounds, Sealth met Maynard in Olympia; they formed a friendly relationship useful to both. Persuading the settlers at Duwamps to rename the town Seattle, Maynard established their support for Sealth's people and negotiated relatively peaceful relations among the tribes. Sealth kept his people out of the Battle of Seattle (1856). Afterwards, he was unwilling to lead his tribe to the reservation established, since mixing Duwamish and Snohomish was likely to lead to bloodshed. Maynard persuaded the government of the necessity of allowing Sealth to remove to his father's longhouse on Agate Passage, 'Old Man House' or Tsu-suc-cub. Sealth frequented the town named after him, and had his photograph taken by E. M. Sammis in 1865. He died June 7, 1866, on the Suquamish reservation at Port Madison, Washington.

chief seattle's reply
 
 
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? That idea is
strange to us.... [read poem]
Continue in David O'Bruadair »»»

Page 1 of 1