In 1845, the President of the United States of America, Franklin Pierce, offered to buy much of their land from the Native Americans. The response of the Seattle Indian chief was as follows:
“The Great Chief wishes to buy our lands, but how can heaven be bought or sold? The idea is strange to us, since we do not own the air.
Every part of the land is sacred to my people, it represents our brothers and our memory.”
“We know that the white man does not understand our customs, but what we do to the earth affects all human beings. The destiny is uncertain for us, because we do not understand that the buffaloes are exterminated, that the horses are domesticated or that the landscape is destroyed to place cables with which to communicate.
If we sell you our land, you must educate your children to understand that the land is precious. They must respect the air, the same one that gave our grandparents their first breath and received their last breath. They will have to teach the men of the future to savor the wind perfumed by the flowers of the field.”