20 Chief Seattle Quotes on Life From the Famous Native American Chief

Chief Seattle quotes from the man known for his courage, daring, and leadership.

Chief Seattle was born around 1790 in Washington.

His father was the Chief of the Suquamish tribe.

His mother was Duwamish, and it’s believed that Seattle was born in her village near the Black River.

Seattle was known for being a mighty warrior and leader of his tribe.

Under his leadership, they defeated raiders from tribal enemies.

It’s also said that he was an impressive speaker with a powerful voice that carried far.

When Doc Maynard arrived in Olympia, as many white settlers were entering the area, Seattle became friends with him.

Maynard pushed to have the town named Seattle after the Chief, and the relationship between the two led to peaceful times between the tribes and settlers.

If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of Sitting Bull quotes from the famous Native American chief.

Powerful Chief Seattle Quotes

1. “When the green hills are covered with talking wires, and the wolves no longer sing, what good will the money you paid for our land be then?” – Chief Seattle

2. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Chief Seattle

3. “The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth.” – Chief Seattle

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4. “If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.” – Chief Seattle

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5. “All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.” – Chief Seattle

6. “When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear; when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.” – Chief Seattle

7. “Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.” – Chief Seattle

8. “Humans merely share the Earth. We can only protect the land, not own it.” – Chief Seattle

9. “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle

10. “My words are like the stars that never change.” – Chief Seattle

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Wise Chief Seattle Quotes

11. “We are all children of the Great Spirit; we all belong to Mother Earth. Our planet is in great trouble, and if we keep carrying old grudges and do not work together, we will all die.” – Chief Seattle

12. “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.” – Chief Seattle

13. “To us, the ashes of our ancestors are sacred, and their resting place is hallowed ground.” – Chief Seattle

14. “There is no death, only a change of worlds.” – Chief Seattle

15. “All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle

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16. “At night, when the streets of your towns and cities are quiet, and you think them empty, they will throng with the spirits that once thronged them and still love those places. The white man will never be alone. So let him be just and deal kindly with my people. The dead have power too.” – Chief Seattle

17. “This we know, the Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. So hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And, with all your strength, with all your mind, and with all your heart.” – Chief Seattle

18. “Like a man who has been dying for many days, a man in your city is numb to the stench.” – Chief Seattle

19. “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people.” – Chief Seattle

20. Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints.” – Chief Seattle

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What did you learn from these Chief Seattle quotes?

Chief Seattle is famously known for his speech or “letter” that talks about environmental values and asks for respect for the rights of Native Americans.

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Although he delivered a speech to the Washington Territories Governor, Isaac Stevens, in 1854, the message was not recorded in writing until decades after Dr. Henry Smith’s notes.

Therefore, it’s believed that the “letter” that is read and referenced now is not authentic, while it may carry some of the same primary messaging.

In 1856, Native American tribes attacked the settlement of Seattle, now known as the Battle of Seattle.

Chief Seattle kept his people from being involved in the battle.

Yet, he was unwilling to take his people to the reservation afterward and was allowed to live in his father’s longhouse.

He eventually died on the Suquamish reservation in 1866 and was believed to be 79 or 80 years old.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Chief Seattle quotes and sayings?

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