Buffaloed

Chief Seattle was an extraordinarily intelligent and charismatic man, a 19th century leader of Puget Sound Indian tribes. In 1884 he purportedly said, among other things, the following:

The earth is our mother. What befalls the earth befalls all the sons and daughters of the earth…. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairies left by the white man who shot them from a passing train… What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires?

The above words have been cited by Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, in his mind-numbing autobiography; they have been broadcast over the airwaves of at least six foreign countries; and, according to a 1993 Reader’s Digest report, “Chief Seattle’s words” are read as “a matter of curriculum” in elementary public schools all across our great country.

Al Gore, of course, routinely trots out Chief Seattle’s words in his own speeches and articles, most famously in his other propaganda publication Earth in the Balance, which predates his more mendacious Inconvenient Truth by over a decade.

The problem, of course, as you’ve no doubt already guessed, is that Chief Seattle never made any such speech. He was too smart and too articulate for such hackneyed lines, and doubtless the good chief would be appalled to hear that these words are being put in his mouth like so much bad pemmican.

The “thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie,” for example (shot by white men from trains), should tip off all would-be quoters of Chief Seattle that this speech is ersatz: buffalo did not “roam” anywhere near where Chief Seattle lived, nor did trains run through there until years after his speech was supposedly delivered.

Also, the “ripe hills being blotted out by talking wires” doesn’t fit the timeline either.

But since when have actual facts really mattered to the religion of environmentalism?

It turns out that this speech was actually written by a university professor named Ted Perry.

Ted Perry.

He was hired to write a documentary about pollution.

The lie was deliberate, though not on Ted Perry’s part.

You may read all about this story in “What Chief Seattle Said,” by Paul S. Wilson, in “Environmental Law” (vol. 22, p. 1451-1468).

Or, alternatively, on the front page of The New York Times, April 1992.

12 Comments

  • Denny

    May 2, 2010

    Ray,

    Thank you for this insight! It just goes on to show how much the “environmental” movement needs to lie to get there agenda’s noticed…Same over a hundred years ago. Nothing has changed! Man’s not perfect. To lie, to state deceit, to have wreckless motives towards something that should be factual and in faith towards our Earth. The Earth has changed but the basics that Man practicises in his motives has not…

  • Mike

    May 2, 2010

    Yea, I remember seeing pictures of native indians and pilgrims in our elementary text books planting corn together (fucking corn). They would dig a hole, throw a dead fish in the whole along with a kernal of corn and cover it up. And then go to the dinner table in November and trade the whole country for a turkey and sell Manhatten for a buck and a bottle of whiskey.
    I was only 10 years old and smelled bullshit right away

  • Mike

    May 2, 2010

    P.S. You have to understand, it was a public school. During arts and crafts I was scolded for drawing a black rose. My teacher said there was no such thing.One of the most joyful experiences of my youth was watching my mother tell the teacher she was an idiot.

    We couldnt afford private school the year round, but my folks compensated well by giving me at least 2 months a year of private instruction. I left the whole public school system by the time I was 16 and got earlt admissions to a culinary institute. Public school is a fucking insult to the human mind.(didnt mean to go off topic, but I did anyway)

  • Wet Blanket

    May 2, 2010

    Mike,

    The great university and college system in this country–the envy of the world really–is all public and supported by the much-loathed taxes from our populance. Ray Harvey woud suggest that we all go to Oral Roberts or Liberty Univevsity (both private) where they teach that the earth is something like 5,000 years old and the discourage inter-racial dating and Rock and Roll. Also, Mike, prvate universities and colleges have failed to embrace the concept of “peer review.” They’re too busy teaching Jesus 101, which is their right b/c they’re private.

    Sorry about the black rose. Like you and like Ray Harvey, that teacher lacked imagination.

  • PopQuiz

    May 3, 2010

    Excerpt from fictional work:

    “Religion always leads to rhetorical despotism,” -L– said.

    “This…rhetorical despotism, Lord?”

    “Yes! It shields evil behind walls of self-righteousness which are proofs against all arguments against evil. … It feeds on deliberately twisted meanings to discredit opposition,” L— said.

    “All of that, Lord?”

    “The Jesuits called that ‘securing your power base.’ It leads directly to hypocrisy which is always betrayed by the gap between actions and explanations. They never agree.”

    “I must study this more carefully, Lord.”

    Ultimately, it rules by guilt because hypocrisy brings on the witch hunt and the demand for scapegoats.”

    “Shocking, Lord.”

    “M—-, are you paying close attention to me?”

    “Yes, Lord. Indeed.”

    “I’m describing a toll of the religious power base.”

    “I recognize that, Lord.”

    “Then why are you so afraid?”

    “Talk of religious power always makes me uneasy, Lord.”

    “Because you and the F— S——s wield it in my name?”

    “Of course, Lord.”

    “Power bases are very dangerous because they attract people who are truly insane, people who seek power only for the sake of power. Do you understand?”

    Now, the quiz.
    Can you name a religion in the U.S. today engaged in rhetorical despotism? A political party? Justify your answer.
    Can you identify the fiction from which this is drawn?

  • Ray

    May 3, 2010

    Dune.

  • Ray

    May 3, 2010

    Wet Blanket: like so many before you, you assume that if government does not provide the thing, the thing won’t be provided for. That very same argument has been used ad infinitum to justify all manner of state encroachment (as it will continue to be used for more), and I eagerly await your next comment wherein you, like so many before you, trot out the standard examples:

    Roads

    Schools

    Fire Departments

    Mail

    And of course the current favorite of them all: more roads

    Et cetera.

  • PopQuiz

    May 3, 2010

    Almost, or should I say generally correct.
    Fiction is often used to make social comment; one could assert the example given does just that.
    Example of rhetorical despotism anyone?

  • Mike

    May 3, 2010

    Your right Wet blanket but the point is that I broke the public schools model that you have to be held back by this useless and pointless process that puts you out on the street at 18 not knowing how to earn a buck.

    And I had to pat out of pocket, which was well worth it, and I;m sure a good chunk of it was paid for by Uncle Sam. Nut the process from K to High school is a total joke.

    I bitched at my son over his math scores being below proficiency. As I looked at the score sheet a little closer I realized that the schools proficiency level was’nt much better, or the state, or the complex area. To meet proficiency one must have a score of 323. My son’s score is 277.
    His school’s score is 284. The state’s score is 288. Complex area is 292.

    This is fucking pathetic ! The people teaching my son only have their heads as far out their ass as far as they do because its grown that far. They dont know much more about what they are doing than he does.

    I bought my boy a drum kit 4 months ago so he could have a head start as he entered band this year. What they do ? They gave him a fucking trombone instead.

    So Wet blanket, I should of been more specific in detailing my way around this public grammar school crap that I almost got a full dose of.

    And what the fuck does Ray have to do with anything I was talking about ? It started to look like a decent conversation. I read the first few lines of your comment that pertained to public schools and answerd accordingly. Then I read the bottom half and BOOM ! heres all this diatribe about Ray Harvey.

    So you made your point, most universities in this country are public schools. I even realized this as soon as I brought it up, but silly me assumed someone would be able to grasp the concept of higher forms of education for our kids. Rather than the rudamentary crap we shove down their throats till they’re 18. And have to live with mom and pop untill they finish college because they dont know how to bring in a decent buck. And if mom and pop cant afford tuition, then the kid is really screwed, and will take out a loan against mom and pops house that he will spend ten years paying back while he lives at home.

    I have made umpteen points of good caliber and common sense and all you can come up with is “our univiersities are public school.” You are a simple minded son of a bitch !

  • Nick

    May 4, 2010

    You’ll have to excuse me, Wet Blanket. I’m usually pretty drunk when I read Ray’s website, so maybe I missed something.

    Can you point out to me here where Ray has either 1) thumped a bible, 2) said anything derogatory about another race or 3) espoused the opinion that Elvis shook his hips too much?

    Mike, judging from your posts it seems the public school system certainly did let you down. Or maybe your parents should have made it three months a year.

  • Wet Blanket

    May 4, 2010

    Nick and MIke–

    Haven’t you been paying attention to what Ray’s been saying all this time? He would say that, as parents, people have the individual responsibility to teach their own childrn. With a bit of rugged individualism, you are free to home-school Todd, or turtor Todd as he brings home less than average grades. You are also free, he would say, not to have kids in the first place. Remember, Libertarians are right-wing nuts who –becasue they shoot blanks or put it in the wrong hole-–have no offspring. They hate public schools-–all public institutions becasue they themselves feel that they are not getting anything out of it.

    This is what Ray Harvey’s website is ALL about. If nothing else, it’s a thinktank for who’s who among has-been Libertarians, and a hotbed of racist bigotry since a person of color has finally been elected president.

    I have decided to spend the rest of my life fighting people like Ray Harvey, writing poetry and preparing for the showdown which will take place soon. I have purified myself, sworn off sex and drink to be ready. Just you watch.

    Best to Todd.

  • Nick

    May 4, 2010

    Wow. That made no sense at all, and I’m even sober right now.

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    As far as the whacked-out, paranoid bit about the inevitable showdown, let me just say this: If it comes down to the poets versus, well, just about anybody else who has a pulse, my money’s on Anybody Else.

    SO BRING IT, PURIFIED, SOBER, ABSTAINING WORDSMITH!

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