Explain this first line of Chief Seattle’s Speech (1854): “Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change.”
In the above quoted line, Chief Seattle says that nature has been a great sympathizer not only for the Red Indians but also for the entire human race for the centuries untold. Nature has given us everything we need to live on this earth. But it may not always remain so. Though the condition appears to be eternal and changeless, it may finally change if we do not respect nature. This is Seattle’s warning against the rapid progress of western civilization, the White people’s way of progress disregarding the need to protect nature.
Also read: Why does the speaker say “tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds”?
The speaker wants to tell that the nature has been sympathetic towards red Indians for many years.
It means the nature shows its kindness upon Red Indians for centuries but now it is not that so and now it appears reversed that nature is not with Red Indians, it may change or not, no one knows.
Chief Seattle feels that things are fine at present. However, the scenario will change in the future as the Great Chief in Washington wishes to buy their land with words of feigned ‘goodwill and friendship’