Auf den Spuren der Ureinwohner

0 Heute waren wir am Grab von Häuptling Noah Seattle (Chief Seattle), gestorben am 7. Juni 1866. Er war Häuptling der Suquamish und der Duwamish hier im Nordwesten der USA. Nach ihm wurde die Stadt Seattle benannt. Er verfolgte eine Strategie der Anpassung an die weißen Siedler, wohl eher nicht aus Überzeugung, sondern aus dem Wissen heraus, dass die Stämme ansonsten verloren wären.

15Berühmt wurde er auch durch eine Rede, die er im Januar 1854 bei einer Anhörung vor dem Gouverneur des Washington Territoriums hielt. Auch wenn der tatsächliche Wortlaut nicht eindeutig überliefert ist, sind die Worte sehr berührend.

„… But why should we repine? Why should I murmur at the fate of my people? Tribes are made up of individuals, and are no better than they. Men come and go like the waves of the sea. A tear, a tamanamus, a dirge, and they are gone from our longing eyes forever. Even the white man, whose God walked and talked with him, as friend to friend, is not exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see.

We will ponder your proposition, and when we have decided we will tell you. But should we accept it, I here and now make this the first condition: That we will not be denied the privilege, without molestation, of visiting at will the graves of our ancestors and friends. Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hill-side, every valley, every plain and grove has been hallowed by some fond memory or some sad experience of my tribe.

Even the rocks that seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun along the silent seashore in solemn grandeur thrill with memories of past events connected with the fate of my people, and the very dust under your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is the ashes of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch, for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred. …“