Answering Chief Seattle

Overview

Over the years, Chief Seattle's famous speech has been embellished, popularized, and carved into many a monument, but its origins have remained inadequately explained. Understood as a symbolic encounter between indigenous America, represented by Chief Seattle, and industrialized or imperialist America, represented by Isaac I. Stevens, the first governor of Washington Territory, it was first ppublished in a Seattle newspaper in 1887 by a pioneer who claimed he had heard Seattle (or Sealth) deliver it in the 1850s....
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Overview

Over the years, Chief Seattle's famous speech has been embellished, popularized, and carved into many a monument, but its origins have remained inadequately explained. Understood as a symbolic encounter between indigenous America, represented by Chief Seattle, and industrialized or imperialist America, represented by Isaac I. Stevens, the first governor of Washington Territory, it was first ppublished in a Seattle newspaper in 1887 by a pioneer who claimed he had heard Seattle (or Sealth) deliver it in the 1850s. No other record of the speech has been found, and Isaac Stevens's writings do not mention it. Yet it has long been taken seriously as evidence of a voice crying out of the wilderness of the American past. Answering Chief Seattle presents the full and accurate text of the 1887 version and traces the distortions of later versions in order to explain the many layers of its mystery. This book also asks how the speech could be heard and answered, by reviewing its many contexts. Mid-century ideas about land, newcomers, ancestors, and future generations informed the ways Stevens and his contemporaries understood Chief Seattle and recreated him as a legenday figure.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Few speeches have captured the imagination of both Europeans and Americans as Chief Seattle's legendary address has. Reputedly delivered in the 1850s to Isaac Stevens, the governor of the Washington Territory, it took on a life of its own in the late 20th century when several different versions, many with an emphasis on the environment, surfaced. English professor Furtwangler, who has previously written on historical topics e.g., Acts of Discovery: Visions of America in the Lewis & Clark Journals, Univ. of Illinois, 1993, first examines the origins of the speech and the setting in which it was purportedly made. Concluding that it is not certain that Seattle uttered the sentiments attributed to him, he then places the speech in the context of the intellectual thought of that era. He also looks at Stevens's role in the Washington Territory. A final chapter brings the investigation to present-day Seattle. For academic libraries.Mary B. Davis, Huntington Free Lib., Bronx, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295976389
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Series: Samuel and Althea Stroum Bks.
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.86 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Legendary Tableau 3
Chief Seattle's Speech: The Complete Text of 1887 12
2 The Vanishing Text 19
3 The Vanishing Setting 47
4 Answers from Afar 73
5 The Answers of Governor Stevens 99
6 Remembered Places, Remembered Voices 137
References 157
Index 165
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