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Chief Seattle
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Native American Icon
    (circa 1786-June 7, 1866)
    Born in Blake Island, Washington
    Name also spelled Seathle, Seathl and See-ahth
    Leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes
    Namesake for Seattle, Washington
    Remembered for a speech about Native American rights and ecology
    He owned slaves captured in raids on other tribes.
    The speech he is remembered for was delivered circa 1854, but first written down by Dr. Henry Smith in 1887, based on Smith's notes.
    He delivered his speech in the local Lushootseed language, which was translated into Chinook, then translated by a third person into English.
    How much of the speech recorded by Smith is Seattle's words, how much is the result of multiple translations and how much may have been interpolated or invented by Smith are all unknown.
    The most widely circulated version of the speech adds further material from a 60s screenplay.
    Traders from the Hudson's Bay Company nicknamed him Le Gros (The Big One) for his imposing height.
    He was a powerful orator who could be heard for 3/4 of a mile.
    He maintained peaceful relations with the white settlers in Washington.
    He had to move out of his namesake town when Seattle passed an ordinance banning permanent Indian homes within city limits (1865).

Credit: C. Fishel


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