How does the speech of the Chief show that his people were oppressed?
The Whites are unjustly exercising authority over the Native Americans. It is the natives’ land that the Big Chief in Washington ‘wishes’ to buy but ‘wish’ is a word sarcastically used by Chief Seattle. The Whites are so powerful in terms of their army and navy that the Red Indians need to bow down. Chief Seattle says that Whites are willing to allow them enough land to live comfortably which is symbolic of their master-slave relationship.
Chief Seattle in his famous speech of 1854 shows how his native people were oppressed by the white settlers. The white people were trying to force their way into the native land. They wanted to buy their land and offered them to give protection from their ancient enemies if they accepted the proposal.
The chief complains that the white people have never shown the respect the tribal people deserve. They are now reduced to a lean race and on the verge of extinction. So, Chief Seattle makes a condition that he can accept the white chief’s offer only if the natives’ land rights are respected and they are given the privilege to visit the tombs of ancestors, friends and children “without molestation”.
The speech shows that their people were oppressed in the way, as Seattle mentioned in his speech, that whites were extending their boundaries. As the whites didn’t respect their ancestors and nature, how could they allow reds to live comfortably, without getting them molested or insulted.