Red Jacket - Speech To The U.S. Senate - Civility


In his “Speech to the U.S. Senate”, Red Jacket was respectful and open-minded, though skeptical, regarding his visitors’ beliefs, hoping that his audience would respond similarly. “We have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely. This gives us great joy; for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think.” He went on to reassure his audience he understood they were far from home, and would waste no time in giving them his answer.

On the relations between his people and the first white settlers to come to their land, he said, “They found friends and not enemies ... they asked for a small seat. We took pity on them, granted their request; and they sat amongst us. We gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison." He argued that it was wrong to portray his people as savages, when they had shown kindness but received in return only "poison" (hard liquor). Further, “Yet we did not fear them. We took them to be friends. They called us brothers. We believed them and gave them a larger seat ... they wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy.” “You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.” The white settlers' actions did not encourage belief in their religion. “How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?”

Red Jacket recognized that the white settlors' religion was beset with divisive controversies, unlike his peoples' own faith. “We also have a religion, which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive; to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.”

He concluded with cordial well-wishes for his visitors. “You have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey, and return you safe to your friends.”

Read more about this topic:  Red Jacket, Speech To The U.S. Senate

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