“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” is a powerful statement about the interconnectedness of all living things.
What is Man without the Beasts? Summary
In 1854 Chief Seattle, elderly chief of the Suquamish Indians, gave a speech on the occasion of the arrival of the first American territorial Governor, Isaac Stevens. The Great White Chief of Washington, the Governor asked Seattle and his people to sell their lands to the government and go to the places reserved for them by the government.
Seattle knows what will happen to his people if he and his people refuse to sell their lands to the Washington Government. But he expresses his unwillingness to sell their lands to the Washington government by giving this speech which is remarkable and thought-provoking.
He expresses his unwillingness by saying that all things on their lands are very sacred to his people. They carry the memory and experience of his people. The flowers, birds, animals, trees and rivers are a part of their family. He feels that the water streams in the rivers are full of the blood of their ancestors.
Seattle asks the white people to remember the preciousness of the air on their lands. He says that every living creature has the same breath on their lands. The wind on his lands is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.
Seattle points out that the white men do not understand the value of the beasts. They kill the beasts. He says if all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected. So he asks the white men not to kill the beasts on their lands.
Seattle asks the white men to teach their children to respect their lands as the ashes of their grandfathers. He asks them to teach their children to respect Earth as the mother. He says that if men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
He wishes that the white and the red people should live in peace. He believes that God’s compassion is equal for the red man and the white man. The Earth is precious to God also. God does not’like people who harm the Earth created by Him.
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” is a powerful reminder that we are all part of the natural world, and that we must respect and cherish the animals that share our planet.