Chief Seattle Speech Rhetorical Analysis Essays

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Seattle Chiefs Ovation The arrival of the European colonists in New England in the 17th century pushed the Native Americans to the west and eventually sparking their demise. Intensive logging impacted their environment, epidemic diseases from Europe claimed lives of thousands of Native Americans, and the Euro-Americans simply took over regions and the land of the native community. The Native Americans were outraged by their inferiority and on the colonist’s treatment of the environment. The Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration is a speech in response to a proposed treaty in which the Indians were persuaded to give up thousands of acres to the US government for a sum of 150,000 dollars. The Chief Seattle’s Oration is considered to be the most…show more content…

This trend continued on until the beginning of the 20th century, and to this day, 1/3 of America’s forests have been cut down causing devastating environmental disruptions. The land which was once peaceful and quiet, home to the Native Americans who respected and loved it had changed horribly. Throughout America’s history, the capitalist Americans viewed the natural resources as a possibility for economic growth. The formation of a free market meant that government legislation and fiscal policies were inadequate to prevent environmental demolitions. From the Colonisation up to the 20th century, the United States government failed to apply sustainable growth. This reflects on how our world economy is working. Governments fail to advocate environmental issues in order to boost the economy. The Chief Seattle underlines the value of the environment. He chief treats nature as a living thing. “Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.” This use of personification in this line relates to how the rain is coming from the sky, but with the incursion of the Americans, nature’s natural course is twisted, thus a cloud will overcast the compassionate tears of the sky. The Chief is sympathetic towards his people; he states that “my people are few. They resemble the scattering tress of a storm-swept plain.” The Chief


Baumann 3 differences in religion between the two groups in great detail. He speaks about how the

religion of the settlers was, “written on tables of stone by the iron finger of an angry God.

(Smith 15).

 He then compares

the white men’s beliefs

 to his own people

s religion, that of ancestors and the Great Spirit. Seattle

states how the settler’s dead wander off into stars

never to return, while his dead stay and still cherish the world that gave them life (Smith 15). This section seems to have a clear bias towards native religion, subtly revealing Chief

Seattle’s true feelings about Washington’s offer

. The labeling of the Christian God as angry,

and of the settler’s ancestors as absent 

, puts a negative spin on the Christian religion and garners sympathy for Native Americans. Some may argue that Chief Seattle was using this as a strategy to introduce his own people to Christianity, since he sees they will need to adapt to the settlers cultural practices. While this may be true, his main reason for the religious comparison was to connect with his own people and elicit sympathy. After this pathos-heavy section, Seattle returns to logos and state

s, “your

proposition seems a just one, and I think my folks will accept it (Smith 15).

 They will go to the reservation and live apart, but with peace between the groups. This is followed immediately with pathos again, stating that all this does not matter as

, “there are not many,” days left for his

people (Smith 15). Seattle deftly switches back and forth between pathos and logos to appeal to both sides and garner respect, as well as sympathy. Seattle

states that, “tribes are made up of individuals and are not better than they.” (Smith 16).

Seattle accepts the death of his people because he sees it as part of the circle of life. He is trying to use logic to convince his own people to accept their doom. He comforts them by stating that even the white man is not exempt from this fact of life; that everything comes to an end. He then reinforces the connections between the two groups by stating that 

, “we

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