Leaving Only Foot Prints Behind

by Gerry Rasmus
(Jomtien, Thailand)

Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle's Thoughts

"Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

As the story goes The Great White Chief created an early Native Peoples' Reservation.

It wasn't easy. But worthwhile. That's why the US city of Seattle bears his name; he famously responded to a cheap offer for a substantial package of land.

The ideas of Chief Seattle

Buying land and the things associated with it is a foreign notion to his people. Clean air and pure running water - how do you claim ownership of that?

All the smallest details of this world are sacred, very important, to the people. Previous generations live on in these elements.

The earth is our great parent. Plants, animals and other components of our ecology our siblings. We're all family.

Anybody who takes over any part of that becomes our steward as well. You own the land and you own us. You must take care of us, by taking care of it.

Our brothers, the rivers, take care of us and our children. It will be up to you to teach that to your children. And they must take care of our brothers.

White man does not get this. Land is a commodity, not a family member. We would respect our ancestors and legacy, but we don't think white man would do so. He would trample and kill them all, leaving behind a wasteland.

The cities do not belong to the earth. They wipe out nature. The winds and the scents they carry are just one example of the importance of the things in this natural world.

We share this environment with all living things. White men do not notice these things,
so if you own the land,
you own the air and all of the things it feeds.

Literally, "The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh." It is up to any future husband to preserve it forever.

So while I may allow you to own the land, the animals are your kin. Call me a savage when your people kill hundreds of buffalo and leave them rotting on the land, when your machines are more important than our brothers.

We would be pretty lonely without the animals. In fact we would not survive for long without them.

You walk on the remains of our parents. Teach that to your children, and to respect their mother, the earth. Whatever happens to the mother, happens to men.

We are of the earth. We are one with the earth.

Your God cannot save you from the planet's demise should that occur anymore than our leaders can. We are all the same - we observe the same God ultimately.

He belongs to no one exclusively. He cares about all men equally. Hurting the mother is hurting him as well. You may find one day that you made your bed (the environment) and now you must sleep in it.

As you die, "you will shine brightly fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man."

What is the point of it all, we do not understand. And never will. At some point, mankind will be all about survival instead of life.

Barry's Response - Gerry, I took the story you submitted and condensed it, hopefully without changing the important message.

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Thank you to my research and writing assistants, ChatGPT and WordTune, as well as Wombo and others for the images.

GPT-4, OpenAI's large-scale language generation model (and others provided by Google and Meta), helped generate this text.  As soon as draft language is generated, the author reviews, edits, and revises it to their own liking and is responsible for the content.