Upon the burning of our land

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Upon the Burning of Our Land On a hot and steamy day, the sun's rays of heat relentlessly beat down on the cool grassy plains of the earth. All the heat is accumulated onto a spot on the dry ground, and it starts a tiny flame that forms on the earth. The tiny blaze seems harmless, but it is potentially dangerous. Soon the tiny blaze begins to paint the earth with yellow and red flames. More of the sun's heat begins to beat down on the lush, green earth, causing more flames to erupt. The fire spreads quickly, devouring all that is in its path. The fire is only stoppable by the ending of land and earth. Many fall victims to this raging inferno, but the fire still burns on. When there is nothing left to burn, the fire goes out, leaving a devastating trail of destruction.

A large and destructive wildfire is comparable to the settling of American soil by foreigners from afar.

In a letter he wrote to the president, Chief Seathl explained how settlers came to this land, and negatively affected almost everything they saw, including the land and its native people. Chief Seathl showed the effects the settlers had on the land as more land and people were "burned away" for the settlers' consumption. Chief Seathl spoke of issues that were argued for many years, and which still have relevance in our lives today. Through remarkably poetic penmanship, Chief Seathl's letter to the president also showed the great respect that he and other Native Americans had for this land, but that the white settlers didn't.

The letter written by Chief Seathl was one of the most powerful combinations of poetry and prose. "His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the redman. But perhaps it is because the redman is a savage and does not understand." Through wonderful imagery, Chief Seathl shows us how the settlers of America negatively affected the land and its indigenous people. The settlers had no right to take away what was not theirs. Perhaps it was not the redman that was the savage and didn't understand, but instead it was the white man.

Our lives have had extreme relevance to the writings of Chief Seathl. Chief Seathl said that one cannot harm the earth. Most would have agreed with all Chief Seathl had to say, but everything that Chief Seathl was against, we have promoted. Chief Seathl was against the building of cities, yet we may have lived in a city all our lives. Chief Seathl said it was not possible to buy or sell the land, yet our families have purchased land and have sold houses. Every part of the earth was sacred to Chief Seathl, yet everyday, people, including myself, take advantage of the land that has been there for us. "One thing we know for sure. The Earth was not made for man, man was made for the Earth." Even today, long after the first settlers set foot on this country, we continue to add to the fire that is consuming our land, and soon there will be nothing left to consume.

Chief Seathl, had much knowledge and wisdom. He had many beliefs about the land and its creatures. His letter to the president revealed how his values show a certain love and respect for the land that God gave him. "Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people." This letter to the president has been around for many years, yet few people seem to have learned from it. People of this country have not gained any respect for the land on which they have been living. People have been taking advantage of this earth. We have littered the ground, cut down trees, refused to recycle, and many other things that harm the land. "The whiteman does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench." I am only one person, and I can only do so much for this land. My part in protecting this land is very intricate, but it is very minor to what we as a country can do for it. There is no way to reverse the negative affects that we have had on this earth. If we could only have listened to the words of Chief Seathl, perhaps the fire could have been extinguished decades ago. However, people can only do what is possible. With the help of Chief Seathl, and the rest of America, we can help put out the fire that has been burning for ages. "…love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we've cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land, as it is when you take it, and with all your strength, with all your might, and with all your heart -- preserve it for your children, and love it as God loves us all."