"The Indians had it right. Private ownership of land is a relatively new idea. It is the prime source of wealth concentration."
Chief Seattle's reply, in 1854, to the "The Great White Chief" in Washington who wished to "buy" their land.
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 the Earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clear and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.
The sap which courses through the trees carries the memory and experience of my people.
The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars.
Our dead never forget this beautiful Earth, for it is the mother of the red man.
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 crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and the 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.
The Great White Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.
He will be our father and we will be his children.
So we will consider your offer to buy land.
But it will not be easy.
For this land is sacred to us.
This shining water that moves in streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.
If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred blood of our ancestors.
If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events in the life of my people.
The waters murmur is the voice of my father's father.
The rivers of our brothers they quench our thirst.
The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children.
If we sell you our land, you must remember to teach your children that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness that you would give my brother.
We know that the white man does not understand our ways.
One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.
The Earth is not his brother, but his enemy and when he has conquered it, he moves on.
He leaves his father's graves behind, and he does not care.
He kidnaps the Earth from his children, and he does not care.