Question: Does the white man attempt to care for or respect the earth?
Claim: Indians share common thoughts on different aspects of the earth on how the white man does not care for or respect it.
From the beginning of time, we have been in confrontation with the American Indians. In most of the confrontations the white man is to blame. From the beginning we have been trying to take advantage of the Indians in many different ways. Most obviously it has been in the aspect of taking advantage of there land and not respecting the earth. The following three exerts, Chief Seattle's speech, Sitting Bull's speech and the passage of Land of the Spotted Eagle, pertain to the fact that we do not respect the land that the Indians live on. Of these three pieces, the first two take place in the 1850's to 1870's. The passage of The Land of the Spotted Eagle takes place at a later time in the 1930's. There is also agreement of the three in the spiritual sense of the land.
In Chief Seattle's speech, he talks in more of the spiritual sense of the land. But it is in direct relationship to the abuse that the White Man exerts on the land. He makes many references towards the Indian Spiritual being, that he is very different from that of the White Man. He makes many analogies towards that of the spiritual importance of the burial grounds and the worshipping grounds towards the after life. "To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground." And he also says, "Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars."
In the speech of Sitting Bull, he speaks of the abuse of the land by the White Man but on a different level then that of Chief Seattle. He says that the Earth is not ours, not theirs, not anybody's to own. He cannot understand the concept of having someone own land. His belief and understanding is that the Earth owns us. We are part of the earth, and the earth cannot be owned, we are just simply here to use its resources and return it to the way that it was before we used it. He relates the actions of us to the earth's natural disasters of destruction. "That nation is like a spring freshest that overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path." He also speaks of the treaty's that we have broken. The abuse that we put forth on the Indians land in the way that we keep pushing them off the land that we keep promising them. "Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that away from us."
In the stories of The land of the Spotted Eagle, by Luther standing Bear, he speaks of the dehumanization of the Indian. He refers to the land and the Indian as being one. "The American Indian is of soil, whether it be the region of forest, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings." He makes many analogies of the land and the Indian being together on a higher level. He explains how the white Man does not understand the Indian and therefore does not understand America. And if that goal cannot be reached then the White Man can never understand America. He states that all of the problems that exist today as a result of the White Man some how. He proclaims that the White Man says that he is forgiven by the fact that he says his God has guided him to this path. He speaks of the ways in which the White Man dehumanizes the earth. He agrees that the white man brought about great change, but the fruits of his society are both sickening and deadening. He says that a true civilization lies in the dominance of self, not in the dominance of other men. He states that the hand is the tool that has built the man's mind, it too can refine it.
In all three cases the Indians are talking about the abuse that the white man puts out upon the land. In common, Indians believe that land has a spiritual aspect to it. Indians foresee that the White Man will never be able to be one with the earth. This is because the White Man does not understand the earth. White Man does not respect the holy grounds of the dead. He does not respect the fruits that the earth has offered to him, but rather walks all over these offerings. All three Indians make references to nature in their description of the land. I found that very interesting. It just supports the fact that Indians are really in tune with the earth and its meaning and surroundings. Indians all hold a common bond, in the fact that White Man have no respect for land that had been promised to the Indians. Indians had created sacred burial grounds for these lands and could not understand how one could just walk all over them and take away the land. Another reason Indians believed the White Man abused the land and could never understand the vast sacred lands of the American Indians.
It is for these reasons that the Indian sees the a common train of thought in that the White Man abuses the Earth. And this practice by us today still goes on in modern society. White Man still abuses the Earth. We dump our garbage in the ocean, we have no place to safely dump toxic waste. We disregard the environment in the same practices we did some two to three hundred years ago, and most importantly we still do not respect the Indian in still trying to squeeze land out of there grasp and moving them around.
Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/indians-and-there-sacred-lands.php