Chief Seattle’s inspirational oration delivered to Governor Isaac Stevens in 1864 is an attempt to manipulate the whites to fairly deal with the Native Americans in regards with their land, despite their inferior status. Although the Indians were separated from their motherland, their spirits are everlasting. Chief Seattle accomplished his purpose through countless rhetorical devices, most notably through establishing his authority, rhetorical questions, and similes.
Chief Seattle begins his speech in a welcoming matter, pleasing the governor and the white’s pride while recognizing their superior status through generating a good reputation. He refers to the governor and president as “The great, and I presume- good White chief…” throughout the piece, hoping the governor will look favorably on his subordination despite the mocking that is hidden in his words. Though the decision is firm for the Natives to be swept off their land, Seattle still praises the white chief. He takes responsibility for the dilemma of the Natives, another strategy that makes him more reputable and commendable to the governor, although he does not necessarily believe that his people are truly at fault. By accomplishing such an act, Seattle gains the respect of the governor, which will in the future help him with his purpose. In yet another attempt to get or remain on the governor’s “good side,” Seattle says that “When our young mean grow angry…it denotes that their hearts are black…” blaming them and not the whites for the warfare and distrust that characterizes the Native American-American relationship. Through establishing his credibility, the chief is able to persuade the governor to treat the tribal people well. Basically, the audience receives a diplomatic but alarming warning by Chief Seattle about the white people taking over their motherland.
In order to further convince the governor and the citizens, Seattle employs rhetorical questions as an attempt to make the reader...
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