Chief Seattle, A Native American Chief Of The Duwamish Tribe

1642 WordsDec 15, 20147 Pages
Chief Seattle, a Native American Chief of the Duwamish tribe, faced the inevitability of his tribe’s removal from their homeland. While he could not deter the United States government from its intentions, he did not waste his opportunity to both protect his tribe and voice his opinions. In his oration to Governor Isaac I. Stevens, Chief Seattle secures respect for his tribe as they are driven off of the land they have protected for centuries. Seattle creates a dynamic shift in tone, primarily through the use of concession, figurative language, and contrast as he advocates for the civilized treatment of his people and the land. Chief Seattle advocates for his people’s civilized treatment by vying for Governor Stevens’ favor. Seattle personifies the sky as an entity that has “wept tears of compassion” upon his people, establishing the strong connection his people have to nature. He notes, however, that the sky is ever changing, but that his words, by contrast, are instead similar to the changeless stars. This simile is an appeal to Chief Seattle’s ethos, which gives him the appearance of reliability and stability in lieu of the world around him. Similarly, he characterizes today as “fair” and tomorrow as “overcast with clouds” to emphasize the dark future that lies ahead for his people. Though Seattle establishes his own authority, he also portrays himself as subordinate to those in Washington, D.C. He refers to the president as the “great chief at Washington,” acknowledging

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