That must be rough:
It’s probably no surprise to most of you that I am deeply moved by this meme. Looks like I haven’t written about this before, but I’m also very touched by Chief Seattle’s letter to the American Government in the 1800s. There is so much that I resonate with in this letter that I find it hard to choose something to quote, but here’s the highlight (do take a read though):
“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.”
“If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.”
“We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, 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 mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.
As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.
One thing we know – there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all.”
Well, I quoted more than half the letter. Oops. But in all seriousness, think about what we have done to this land, to this planet.
This is by no means an ignorance of the complexity and sensitivity of the immigration debate in the US. It is a worthwhile one to have. My intention of writing this post is to recall the past–a tainted one at best. It’s one that many would like to forget, and one that–lamentably–many has forgotten or never even heard about.
I’m not going to get too far into the debate about the rights of citizens vs non-citizens, but I would just point out that while that we once were unwelcome immigrants too–at a time when the concept of “illegal”, along with other things man-made, were of lesser importance than the respect, love and gratitude for the planet and fellow-beings.