In pursuit of historical veracity I came across extracts from F.J. Grant’s report (pp. 433-6 of his History of Seattle, Washington) of the speech of Chief Sealth—as translated from someone else’s Chinook translation of Sealth’s into English by Henry Smith, then printed in a now unreadable edition of the Seattle Sunday Star, 29 October 1887—the whole of which I found by looking at Furtwangler’s Answering Chief Seattle on Google.
As many removes away from some situated original as this might be, it is also a long, long ways from the widely reprinted text of “Chief Seattle’s speech” that circulates in the Green movement. What struck me was the sympathetic recognition of the burden of a bleak, unforgiving religion contained in this thoroughly hybrid text. Whether it is the voice of a white man, disenfranchised from the traditions of his forebears through some shattering encounter, or the voice of a chief seeing his people’s true doom, or some conversation between them, the description is painfully acute.
[p.14] Your god seems to us to be partial. He came to the white man. We never saw him; never even heard his voice; he gave the white man laws, but he had no word for his red children whose teeming millions filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No, we are two distinct races and must ever remain so. There is little in common between us. The ashes of out ancestors are  sacred and their final resting place is hallowed ground, while you wander away from the tombs of your fathers seemingly without regret.
Your religion was written on tablets of stone by the iron finger of an angry god, lest you might forget it. The red man could never remember nor comprehend it.
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors, the dreams of our old men, given them by the great spirit, and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.
Your dead cease to love you and the homes of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb. They wander far off beyond the stars, as soon forgotten, and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its winding rivers, its great mountains and its sequestered vales, and they ever yearn in their tenderest affection over the lonely hearted living and often return to visit and comfort them.
Wow. That’s much better than the cloying gleep that is usually reprinted.
As a child, I would find arrowheads and metates left behind by Gabrieleno or Chumash—and I give credit to my parents for making sure I knew those names. As an adult I have burnt and scattered both my parents, and I know exactly where they are, and what trees those ashes fed. That is not any practice their ancestors brought with them to Turtle Island, and although I know it’s a relatively new practice in my family, I do not know who taught us to do this.