This is the first thorough historical account of Chief Seattle and his timesthe story of a half-century of tremendous flux, turmoil, and violence, during which a native American war leader became an advocate for peace and strove to create a successful hybrid racial community.
When the British, Spanish, and then Americans arrived in the Pacific Northwest, it may have appeared to them as an untamed wilderness. In fact, it was a fully settled and populated land. Chief Seattle was a powerful representative from this very ancient world. Historian David Buerge has been researching and writing this book about the world of Chief Seattle for the past 20 years. Buerge has threaded together disparate accounts of the time from the 1780s to the 1860sincluding native oral histories, Hudson Bay Company records, pioneer diaries, French Catholic church records, and historic newspaper reporting. Chief Seattle had gained power and prominence on Puget Sound as a war leader, but the arrival of American settlers caused him to reconsider his actions. He came to embrace white settlement and, following traditional native practice, encouraged intermarriage between native people and the settlers, offering his own daughter and granddaughters as brides, in the hopes that both peoples would prosper. Included in this account are the treaty signings that would remove the natives from their historic lands, the roles of such figures as Governor Isaac Stevens, Chiefs Leschi and Patkanim, the Battle at Seattle that threatened the existence of the settlement, and the controversial Chief Seattle speech that haunts to this day the city that bears his name.
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About the Author
DAVID M. BUERGE has been a teacher, historian, and writer. He is an alum of the University of Washington and the Peace Corps. While teaching in the 1970s, he began researching and writing about northwestern prehistory and began writing for local, regional, and national publications. He also became acquainted with the Duwamish tribe and became a student of their history. Buerge has published fourteen books of history and biography.
Table of Contents
Inland Seas and Rivers vi
Puget's Sound x
Suquamish and Seattle xii
Duwamish and Seattle xiv
Duwamish Watershed, Ancient and Modern xvi
Chapter 1 Prehistory to 1792: "There was a time when our people covered the whole land." 1
Chapter 2 To 1832: "Why should I murmur at the fate of my people?" 27
Chapter 3 To 1847: "Tour God seems to us to be partial." 52
Chapter 4 To 1852: "lam glad to have you come to our country." 79
Chapter 5 To 1854: "How then can we become brothers?" 107
Chapter 6 To 1856: "The Great Chief above who made the country made it for all." 133
Chapter 7 To 1858: "I want you to understand what I say." 161
Chapter 8 To 1866: "Shake hands with me before I am laid in the ground." 188
Chapter 9 To 1887: "Dead, did I say?" 215
Chapter 10 To the Present: "The dead are not altogether powerless." 244
A Note on the Spelling of Native Words 274
Appendix of Native Names and Words 275
Image Credits 317