Man of the Earth

© BRGM-im@gé/Nicolas Baghdadi
© BRGM-im@gé/Nicolas Baghdadi
© IFP
©IFP
© LAMS
© LAMS
© BRGM im@gé/François Michel
© BRGM im@gé/François Michel

"We are part of the Earth, and the Earth is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The deer, the horse, the great eagle are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony all belong to the same family. (...)

We know the white man does not understand our ways. One piece 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 grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the Earth from his children, and he does not care. His father's grave, and his children's birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the Earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the Earth and leave behind only a desert. (...)

Teach your children what we have taught our children that the Earth is our mother. What befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves This we know: the Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. 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."

Extract from speech delivered by Chief Seattle (circa 1786 - 1866), of the Duwamish tribe, to Governor Isaac M. Stevens (the exact wording of the speech is a subject of controversy).


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