|Chief Seattle's Speech - Evergreen Publication|
COMPREHENSION (UNSOLVED PASSAGES)
(1) Chief Seattle wishes their father in Washington to act impartially and without any prejudice or bias. He should regard the white settlers and the Natives as his own children and extend his protecting hands to all.
(ii) The Red Children and the white Children can't become brothers as there has been discrimination and injustice meted out to the Red Children whereas the white children have been favourite even with God. The wrongs suffered by the Red Children have been too many to be forgotten.
(iii) The white man's God has showered His blessings and profound love on them. He holds protecting arms lovingly to the white. But on the other hand He has hated the Red children. He neither loves nor protects the Red ones. They have been rendered orphans due to neglect by their God.
(iv) Chief Seattle refers to the hostilities by the white to the ancestors of the tribal people. There has been a long history of injustice and indiscrimination meted out to the tribals at the hands of the white settlers in the land.
(V) According to Chief Seattle, there is little common between the Red children and the white children as if two different Gods existed one favouring the white and the other hating the Red Children who have been rendered orpha now. It appears that the Red children and the white belong to two different races with conflicting interests.
(1) Chief Seattle rues that the Red children have been neglected not only by white man's god but also by their own God, the Great Spirit. Whereas the white man's God has given many favourable laws and privileges to His own children, even the heavenly father has behaved partially towards the tribal children. As such they have been rendered orphans.
(ii) To the Red Children, the ashes of their ancestors are sacred and their resting place a hallowed ground, like a pilgrimage to them. But the case is different with the white children who have nothing to think of their ancestors or seek inspiration from them.
(iii) The religion of the white people was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of their God. As such they could not forget it.
(iv) The tribal people could not comprehend the religion of the white people. They had their own religion steeped in the memory of the traditions cherished and kept by their ancestors who developed it under the inspiration of the Great Spirit.
(V) The white people get cut off from their ancestors as soon as the leave the portals of the tombs of the ancestors. As such they do not feel inspired by them. But the tribal people ever remain attached to the beautiful they grew on.
(i) The speaker differentiates his tribal people from the white people with the belief that the former remain rooted to the tradition and seek inspiration from their elders whereas the white cease to have attachment with the land that they left behind.
(ii) The speaker realizes that he should not mourn at the untimely fate' of his people because everything and everybody must meet decay or decline sooner or later. Glory or fame is all transitory. One tribe follows another tribe. Change is the law of nature.
(iii) The figure of speech used in the expression. Tribe follows tribe and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea is simile. It means that just as one wave rises and falls soon, in the same way a tribe or a nation disappears or vanishes. Nothing is permanent.
(iv) The speaker comments on the destiny of the white people. He warns the white people that even though they have been the favourite with God the day of their ultimate decay may appear to be far but it is certainly sure one day.
(V) The speaker believes that both the white people and the tribal people have the common destiny i.e. fate. If the tribal heroes are no more today, the white glory of the white people will also go into oblivision one day. Death spares none and conquers all. Death is the greatest leveller.
(1) The speaker refers to the proposition given by the Great White Chief that the latter wishes to buy their land but is willing to allow them enough to live comfortably. The proposition could be acceptable only on the condition that they would not be molested or attacked when they visited the tombs of their ancestors.
(ii) The speaker asserts that every part of the soil where the ancestors of his tribe lived is sacred. They had toiled hard, loved its trees, valleys and plains. Every nook and corner of the land is steeped in the memory of their ancestors.
(iii) The speaker feels that every hillside, every valley, every plain and grave of their land is sacred to them because their ancestors toiled hard on this land. They had their share of joys and sorrows and spent their lives with love for their land. Many stirring memories of their ancestors are woven all over the land.
(iv) The speaker's regard and attachment for his ancestors is quite clear in this passage. The speaker is Chief Seattle of Suquamish tribe. The speech was delivered in Washington in 1954 in response to the White Chief's message of goodwill.
(V) The dust upon which the white people stand now responds more lovingly to the footsteps of the tribal people than those of the white people because it is rich with the blood of the speaker's ancestors. There is a loving bond of belongingness with the land as far as the tribal people are concerned.
(i) The Red Men and the White Men remained hostile in the past. The Red Men were discriminated against on grounds of colour and race. The White Men treated the Red Men as orphans, hated them and maltreated them. There was no harmony between them. The passage explains how the Red Men were looked down upon by the white People.
(ii) The children's children of the white men will not feel alone in a field, the store, the shop or anywhere else because the invisible dead of his tribe will rise from the tombs and give solace to all these children of the white. The spirits of the ancestors of the speaker's tribe will console and guide these children in their loneliness.
(iii) The speaker firmly believes that in all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. One is never lonely in any place on the earth. The spirits of the dead are always there to give company to all those who feel lonely. That way no place is absolutely dedicated to solitude or loneliness.
(iv) The deserted streets will be thronged with the spirits of the Native people's ancestors who had really been deeply attached to the soil on which they spent their lives and had great love for their land and people.
(v) The speaker believes that death is just a change of worlds. One dies to be born in a different world. Soul assumes a different physical frame and dwells on some different soil.
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
ASSIGNMENT Develop the following hints into your own answers :
- acknowledges greetings of goodwill and friendship
- argues in favour of ecological responsibility and respect of Native American's land rights
- strikes a note of reconciliation and accommodation
- hopes better treatment from the good father in Washington
- considers white man's proposal liberally
- assures the coming generations of the white children will not be left in solitude
- pleads for the spirit of accommodation
- ready to forget the past hostilities
- thanks the White Chief for his generosity
- assures that the warriors of his tribe will prove a strength to the white people
- considers the White Chief's proposition sympathetically
- expects better treatment from the white people
- hostilities between the tribal people and the white lasted for centuries
- the tribal people given step motherly treatment by the white
- the racial feelings due to colour mutual respect for each other's interests
- treated as orphans
- wishes hostilities to come to an end
- expects the White Chief to be impartial, just and caring equally to the white and the tribal people
- as if there were two Gods-one for the white, the other for the tribal people
- the God of the white people loving, considerate only to the white
- the God for the tribal hated them, treated them as orphans thus the birth of two distinct races with separate destinies
- the white people become chosen sons of God, the tribal people, a cursed lot
- common destiny awaits all
- once the natives very powerful
- the white became favourite to the God of the white people
- but time is ever on the move
- fame and glory transient
- no guarantee that the white will always be favourite of God
- their time of decay and decline may be far off but it is certain
- so shun all vanity. Be human and live like brethren