The Stranniki (Russian for Runaways or Wanderers) are the strong Pomorsky Old Believers who rejected prayers for Tsar Peter and all government papers (identification, passports, money, etc). They would not wear clothing contrary to Old Orthodox Russia, nor eat with those of contrary Faith and Practice. Keeping themselves separate from the antichrist society they went far into the Siberian wilderness. This blog is about these people and my effort to conform my life to theirs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Can We Buy and Sell the Earth?

In 1854, the United States government offered to buy two million acres of Indian land in the Northwest. This is a translation of part of Chief Sealths (Seattle) reply to President Franklin Pierce. It has been described as the most beautiful and prophetic statement on the environment ever made.

The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. This idea seems strange to us, for if we can not own the freshness of  the air and the sparkle of the water, then how can we sell them? But we know if we do not sell the land, the white man will come with guns and take it from us.

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. We are part of the Earth and the Earth is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. So when the Great Chief sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers, so they will respect the land. Tell your children that the Earth is rich with the lives of our ancestors. Teach your children what we have taught our children - that the earth is our mother, and what ever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know. The Earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth. This we know.

All things are connected. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it, and whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. So if we sell you our land, try to hold in your memory the land as it is when you take it. And with all your mind and with all your heart, preserve the land for your children, and love it as God loves us all. One thing we do know, our God is the same God and the Earth is precious to Him. Even the white man cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all.

We shall see...

Chief Seattle