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Duwamish

Activist group Backbone Campaign hung this banner in September 2015. Chief Seattle is often quoted by environmental groups.
Flickr Photo/Backbone Campaign (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/yJnSzW

“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

These words are from an 1854 speech that made Chief Seattle famous, inspiring environmental movements in the city that bears his name and beyond.

Except, he never really said that.


Julia Yesler, pictured, is the offspring of a Duwamish woman and white settler Henry Yesler.
Courtesy of Kathie Zetterberg

Chief Seattle was the leader of the Duwamish tribe in the days when white settlers were entering the region that would eventually bear his name.

The chief had an unusual way of brokering peace: encouraging his family members to marry the settlers.


Public Domain

If you find yourself at Lake Washington this summer, breathe deeply.

Matthew Klingle, author of "Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle," says you wouldn't have wanted to do that 60 years ago, when the lake was chronically polluted with sewage.