sexta-feira, novembro 18

Carta de um chefe índio ao presidente Franklin Pierce (em 1855)

(In 1855, the Dwamish Chief Seattle, of Washington Territory, sent
the following letter to President Franklin Pierce. Not surprisingly,
his powerful plea was ignored by Pierce, and every President to
follow. Now, we need, more than ever, a president who will listen to
Chief Seattle's simple words.)

To the Great Chief in Washington,

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion
of the 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, and his children's
birthright is forgotten.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps
it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand. There
is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the
leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I
am a savage and do not understand, the clatter only seems to insult
the ears.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind itself cleansed by a
midday rain, or scented by a Pinion pine. The air is precious to the
Redman. For all things share the same breath: the beasts, the trees,
and the man.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man
dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

I have seen thousands of rotting buffaloes on the prairie left by the
white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and do
not understand. What is man without the beasts? If all beasts were
gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever
happens to the beast happens also to the man.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the
earth. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls
the sons of the earth. Man does not weave the web of life, he is
merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to

Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat. Our warriors
have felt shame. It matters little where we pass the rest of our
days; they are not many. A few more hours, a few more winters, and
none of the children of the great tribes that once lived on this
earth will remain to mourn the graves of a people once as powerful
and hopeful as yours.

But even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We
may be brothers after all; we shall see. One thing we know, which the
white man may one day discover: our God is the same God. You may
think that you own him as you wish to own our land, but you cannot.
He is the Body of man, and his compassion is equal for the red man
and white. This earth is precious to him, and to harm the earth is to
heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass, perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue
to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own

But in your perishing you may 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. That destiny
is a mystery for us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are
slaughtered, and the wild horses tamed. Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift
pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

We might understand if we knew what it was the white man dreams, what
hopes he describes to his children on long winter nights, what
visions he burns into their minds, so they will wish for tomorrow.
But we are savages. The white man's dreams are hidden from us. And
because they are hidden we will go our own way.

If we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as
we have cared for it. Hold in your memory the way the land is as you
take it. And with all your strength, with all your might, with all
your heart, preserve it for your children and love it .... as God
loves us all.

One thing we know. Our God is the same God. This earth is precious to
Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We
may be brothers after all.

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