You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
Seattle (c. 1784–1866), native American chief of the Dwamish, Suquamish and allied Native American tribes. Letter, 1854, to President Franklin Pierce. Published in Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle (1990).
The letter, in which Seattle pleaded that his name should die with the ceding of the Washington State territories, was shown in 1992 to have been largely a forgery, devised by television scriptwriter Ted Perry for an historical epic in 1971.