Remarkable for their eloquence, depth of feeling, and oratorical mastery, these 82 compelling speeches encompass five centuries of Indian encounters with nonindigenous people. Beginning with a 1540 refusal by a Timucua chief to parley with Hernando de Soto (“With such a people I want no peace”), the collection extends to the 20th-century address of activist Russell Means to the United Nations affiliates and members of the Human Rights Commission (“We are people who love in the belly of the monster”).
Other memorable orations include Powhatan’s “Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food?” (1609); Red Jacket’s “We like our religion, and do not want another” (1811); Osceola’s “I love my home, and will not go from it” (1834); Red Cloud’s “The Great Spirit made us both” (1870); Chief Joseph’s “I will fight no more forever” (1877); Sitting Bull’s “The life my people want is a life of freedom” (1882); and many more. Other notable speakers represented here include Tecumseh, Seattle, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse, as well as many lesser-known leaders.
Graced by forceful metaphors and vivid imagery expressing emotions that range from the utmost indignation to the deepest sorrow, these addresses are deeply moving documents that offer a window into the hearts and minds of Native Americans as they struggled against the overwhelming tide of European and American encroachment. This inexpensive edition, with informative notes about each speech and orator, will prove indispensable to anyone interested in Native American history and culture.