Treasure Trove Short Stories Workbook Answers Chief Seattle’s Speech
Chief Seattle’s Speech Questions and Answers
What is the main difference between the Red Man and the White Man ?
According to the speaker, the Red Man is at a disadvantage owing to reduced numbers. The White people are like the grass that covers vast pastures. The tribal people are small in numbers. They resemble the scattered trees in a wind-swept plain. Secondly, the White man doesn’t need the friendship of the Red Man. He wields great power and authority. He appears to be just towards the tribals, even generous to a great extent. There was a time when the tribal people covered the whole land just as the waves cover the sea. But all that is a sad memory now.
What were the hostilities between the white people and the local tribals ? What is the speaker’s attitude to these hostilities ?
The speaker recollects the time when there were fights and hostilities between the white invaders and the local tribals. The white people were pushing the local tribals westwards. He wishes that the hostilities may never return. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain against the white people. The younger people among the tribals may think of taking revenge against their white rulers but it would be a fruitless misadventure. The old tribal people are wise and would never like to resume the hostilities against the Whites. He hopes that their good father in Washington (i.e., the White ruler) would protect them and his brave warriors would prove to be a great wall of defence against their traditional enemies who used to frighten their women, children and the old men.
How does Chief Seattle strike a note of reconciliation towards the white people ? Give examples from the text.
Chief Seattle delivered a speech at Washington in 1854. In his impressive speech, he pursues the path of accommodation of white settlers in the U.S. State of Washington. He puts forward forceful arguments in favour of ecological responsibility and respect of native Americans and their rights. He is opposed to hostilities between his tribal people (the Red children) and the white people because they lead to revenge, hatred, enmity and death. Therefore, he opts for peace and reconciliation. In the past, there were hostilities between the local tribals and the white invaders. He does not wish for the resumption of those hostilities. He expresses a hope that their good father in Washington would protect them and his brave warriors would prove to be a great wall of strength against their ancient enemies. His brave warriors would not allow the Haidas and Tsimshians (their enemies) to frighten their women, children and old men.
Elaborate the remark : “God loves your people and hates mine !”
This remark forms a part of Chief Seattle’s speech. It brings out an element of self¬pity and anger in the mind of the speaker. He clearly says “Your God is not our God.” According to him, God (i.e., the Christian God) folds his arms protectingly about the pale-face i.e., the white people and leads them by the hand just as a father leads a child. But it is a pity that he has forsaken his Red children i.e., the native people of America. These natives look like orphans who can look nowhere for help. How can they feel on brotherly terms with the white people who are making more and more progress.
“Day and night cannot dwell together”. Comment.
Chief Seattle believes that the Red people are poles apart from the white people. It is difficult to presume that they can put up with each other without any conflict. Taking an example from the world of nature, he says that the day and night cannot dwell together. The rays of the sun chase away the darkness of the night. Similarly, the Red Man has ever fled the approach of the white man as the morning mist disappears before the morning sun. However, Chief Seattle is ready for some kind of peaceful coexistence inspite of the apparent differences.
What is the speaker’s mood when he says : “The Indian’s night promises to be dark” ?
Chief Seattle is rather depressed at the present scenario. His mind is clouded by dark thoughts. In a desperate voice he says : “Not a single star of hope hovers above the horizon.” The Red Indians originally occupied the whole land of America. But after the discovery of America by Columbus, the European nations began to occupy more and more of the land and the Red people had to move away farther and farther for their security. Now the situation is dismal for the native tribals. The speaker says in a melancholy manner that nobody knows where the natives will pass the remnant of their days. Of course, they will not be many. Sad-voiced winds are already moaning in the distance. These are the winds of change. Grim Fate is hounding out the Red Man. The Red Man is more like a doe which has been wounded by the hunter. The speaker is apprehensive about the future. It is possible that the original natives of this land will be completely wiped out by the invading forces and nobody will be left behind to mourn over the graves of the dead. But then the speaker checks himself and asks : “But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people ?” He consoles himself by philosophising that nothing is permanent in this world. Tribe follows tribe and nation follows nation. It is the law of nature.
On what condition does the speaker accept the proposition of the white man ?
The proposition made by the good father in Washington is that if the tribals follow their white leaders, they will be given total protection. The brave warriors of the white people will prove to be a strong wall of defence and their wonderful ships of war will protect the harbours against the enemies.
However, the Red Man puts forward a condition to accept this proposal. The condition is that they will not be denied access to the tombs of their ancestors, friends and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of the local tribals. Therefore, the white man should not exile them in their own land.
What are the salient aspects of Chief Seattle’s character which come out in his speech ?
Chief Seattle is a well-known figure among the tribal people. He is a powerful orator and when he addresses an audience, his voice is loud and clear. His speech shows his qualities as a man and as a leader of his people. His speech is brilliant, argumentative and logical. He is not rash or short-tempered. He advocates peace and stability. He knows that anger will lead to more blood-shed and destruction. He is quite wise, profound and philosophical. Though his mood changes during the speech, yet he does not forget his main line of argument. Here and there he speaks like a poet who makes use of apt similes and metaphors to drive home his point.
How does Chief Seattle conclude his speech ?
Chief Seattle fondly remembers the members of his tribe who lived in this dear land in the yesteryears. There were fond mothers, happy maidens and dear children who are now living in their graves. The speaker envisions a time in the distant future when the last Red Man shall have perished and the memory of his tribe will have turned into a myth among the White Men. It is then that these shores will be filled up again with the invisible dead of his tribe. When the coming generations of the white people will think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop or anywhere else, they will find the returning hosts who once inhabited these places. The speaker firmly says : “The White Man will never be alone”. He believes that in all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. His only wish is that the White ruler is just and kind to his people. For him, death is meaningless. As he puts it : “There is no death, only a change of worlds”.
Thus the speech of Chief Seattle comes straight from his heart and goes right to the hearts of the audience.
Chief Seattle’s Speech Comprehension Passages
1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. Thus it was when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
(i) When do the young men grow angry ?
Answer: The young men grow angry when they perceive some real or imaginary wrong done to them.
(ii) How do the young men react when they are angry ?
Answer: They often become cruel and relentless and even their old men and old women are unable to restrain them.
(iii) What was the situation when the tribal young men became angry and cruel ?
Answer: When the white men began to push the tribal young men’s forefathers westward, they became angry and cruel.
(iv) What does the speaker hope for ?
Answer: The speaker hopes that the hostilities that existed between the tribal people and the white people earlier do not return again.
(v) Why does the speaker want an end to hostilities between the tribal people and the white people ?
Answer: The speaker wants an end to hostilities because he thinks that they (the tribal people) would lose everything and gain nothing.
2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
The white man’s God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be brothers ? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness ? If we have a common Heavenly Father He must be partial, for He came to His paleface children. We never saw Him. He gave you laws but had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No; we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between us.
(i) Why do the Red Children regard themselves as orphans ?
Answer: The Red Children feel that the God of white people loves his own people and hates the Red Children (tribal people). He has abandoned them and does not protect them. Thus they regard themselves as orphans who can look nowhere for help.
(ii) Why can’t the Red Children and the white children become brothers ?
Answer: The Red Children and the White Children cannot become brothers because they are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little common between them.
(iii) What did the white man’s God give them ?
Answer: The white man’s God showered his love on his people and gave protection to them. He gave them laws which brought them prosperity and greatness.
(iv) What did the white man’s God deprive the Red Children of ?
Answer: The white man’s God deprived the Red children of his love and protection. He did not make laws for them which could bring them prosperity and greatness.
(v) Why is there little in common between the Red children and the white children ?
Answer: There is little in common between the Red children and the white children because they belong to two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies.
3. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret. Your religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. The Red Man could never comprehend or remember it. Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors – the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.
(i) How do the tribal people regard the ashes of their ancestors ?
Answer: The tribal people regard the ashes of their ancestors as sacred and their resting place as a hallowed ground.
(ii) How do the white people feel about their dead ancestors ?
Answer: The white people are indifferent to their ancestors and they keep themselves away from the graves of their ancestors. They neglect them and pay no respect to them.
(iii) Where was the religion of the white people written ? Why were their dead people soon forgotten ?
Answer: The religion of the white people was written upon the tablets of stone. Their dead people ceased to love them and the land of their nativity. So they were soon forgotten.
(iv) Comment on the religion of the tribal people.
Answer: The religion of the tribal people is the traditions of their ancestors. It constituted the dreams of their old men and was written on the hearts of their people.
(v) What do the dead tribal people not forget? What do they still love ?
Answer: They do not forget their beautiful world. They still love its grassy valleys, musical rivers, magnificient mountains and lakes.
4. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.
(i) When do the dead white people cease to love their childred ?
Answer: The dead white people cease to love their children as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond stars.
(ii) What is the attitude of the white people towards their dead ancestors ?
Answer: The white people are indifferent to their dead ancestors and they keep themselves away from the graves of their ancestors. They neglect them and pay no respect to them. Their approach is casual towards their dead ancestors.
(iii) What did the dead tribal people give the living tribal people ? What did they love in this world ?
Answer: The dead tribal people gave the living tribal people their being. They loved the grassy valleys, the musical rivers, the magnificient mountains and lakes in this world.
(iv) How does the speaker react to the new proposition sent by the White Man ?
Answer: The speaker reacts favourably to the proposition sent by the White Man. He thinks that his people will accept it because it seems to be fair and reasonable.
(v) How will the tribal people live after they accept the proposition ? What does the speaker think about the words of the Great White Chief ?
Answer: After accepting the proposition sent by the White Man, the trial people will live in peace. The speaker thinks that the words of the Great White Chief are the words of nature speaking to his people out of darkness.
5. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.
(i) What does the speaker expect from the father in Washington ?
Answer: The speaker expects that the father in Washington would protect his tribal people and his brave warriors would prove to be a great wall of strength against their ancient enemies.
(ii) How does the speaker differentiate his tribal people from the white people ?
Answer: The speaker says that the tribal people and white people are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between the two. Moreover, the religion of the white people is different from that of the tribal people. The attitude of the white people towards their dead ancestors is different from that of the tribal people.
(iii) How does the speaker realize that he should not mourn at the untimely fate of his people ?
Answer: The speaker thinks that death is inevitable.
When he observes that tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, he realizes that he should not mourn at the untimely fate of his people because it is the order of nature.
(iv) Where was the white man’s religion written ? Why ?
Answer: The white man’s religion was written upon tablets of stone by the iron fingers of their God. It was written there so that he would not forget it.
(v) What comment does the speaker make about the destiny of the white people ?
Answer: The speaker remarks that the white people cannot escape decay for a long time. It is their ultimate destiny. Even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common decay.
6. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
We will ponder your proposition and when we decide we will let you know. But should we accept it, I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood’ of our ancestors, and our bare feet are .conscious of the sympathetic touch.
(i) What is the condition that the speaker puts forward before taking the decision on the white man’s proposition ? Why is he hopeful in accepting the proposition ?
Answer: The condition is that the tribal people will have full freedom to visit the tombs of their ancestors, friends and children at any time. He is hopeful because the proposition seems to be fair and reasonable.
(ii) How is every part of the soil sacred to his tribal people ?
Answer: Every part of the soil is sacred to his tribal people because it is associated with some past sad or happy event. It is sacred to them because it thrills them with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of his people.
(iii) What has made every hillside, every valley, every plain and grave sacred ?
Answer: The association of some past sad or happy event of life has made every hillside, every valley, every plain and grave sacred to the tribal people.
(iv) What do the rocks thrill with ? How does the dust respond ?
Answer: The rocks thrill with the memories of stirring events connected with the lives of the tribal people. The dust responds lovingly to the footsteps of the tribal people.
(v) Why does the dust upon which the white people stand now respond more lovingly to the footsteps of the tribal people than those of the white people ?
Answer: The dust upon which the white people stand now respond more lovingly to the footsteps of the tribal people than those of the white people because it is rich with the blood of the ancestors of the tribal people and the bare feet of the tribal people are conscious of the sympathetic touch.
Chief Seattle’s Speech Assignment
Question 1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.
(i) When will the shores swarm with the invisible dead of the speaker’s tribe ? Why ?
(ii) Why will the children’s children of the white men not feel alone in the field, the store, the shop, etc. ?
(iii) Comment on the speaker’s line : “In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude.”
(iv) What will the deserted streets be thronged with ? Why ?
(v) What does the speaker say about death? Explain.
(a) What does the Chief Seattle say to prove that ‘Youth is impulsive’ ?
(b) What condition does the Chief lay down before conveying his decision on the proposition ? Why does he lay down this condition ?
(c) What do you think, is the message, conveyed by the writer in ‘Chief Seattle’s Speech’ ?