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Chief Seattle's Speech | Study Guide

Chief Seattle

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Course Hero. "Chief Seattle's Speech Study Guide." September 29, 2020. Accessed August 10, 2022.


Course Hero, "Chief Seattle's Speech Study Guide," September 29, 2020, accessed August 10, 2022,



Chief Seattle

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At a Glance

  • Chief Seattle (c. 1780–1866), known to his people as Chief Sealth, was born on what is now Bainbridge Island in Washington State.
  • Seattle's father was a member of the Suquamish tribe, and his mother was a member of the Duwamish tribe. Seattle's native language was Lushootseed.
  • Seattle was known for his abilities as an orator, as well as his even temperament and positive influence among both native tribes and white settlers of the area.
  • Chief Seattle did not actually write the version of his speech that has survived until today. The first known recorded version of the speech was written by Dr. Henry A. Smith (1830–1915), a homesteader who had moved west from Ohio.
  • Chief Seattle was said to have delivered his speech probably in 1855 at a meeting among several native tribal leaders and Governor Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818–62) of Washington, where Stevens planned to negotiate land treaties with the native tribes.
  • Dr. Smith's version of Seattle's speech was first printed in 1887 in an article published in a Seattle newspaper.
  • Since its initial publication, three additional versions of the speech have been published. The first revision was published in the 1960s and included modernizations of Smith's Victorian-era English. The second and third revisions appeared during the 1970s and included major changes to both the form and content of the original speech.
  • Ongoing revisions and adaptations of this speech have made it a focal point for discussions about the treatment of Native Americans.


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