Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle
Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle
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Annotation: A Suquamish Indian chief describes his people's respect and love for the earth, and concern for its destruction.
Catalog Number: #4612002
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 1991
Edition Date: 1991
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-14-230132-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-14-230132-6
Dewey: 811
Language: English
ALA Booklist
How can you buy the sky? Chief Seattle began. / How can you own the rain and the wind? / My mother told me, / Every part of this earth is sacred to our people. As Jeffers notes in her afterword, the words that inspired the book were spoken or written (time has clouded their origins) in the mid-1800s by the leader of the Northwest Indian Nation, in response to the U.S. government's persistent attempts to buy land from his people. Jeffers presents the land of North America and its people (Indians, then; today modern, ecologically aware Americans) in a continuum. While she doesn't shy away from showing the United States' poor stewardship of the land, her primary message is one of hope, but some readers (native Americans among them) may find her visual message--that the wise Indians of the past are passing the torch of enlightenment to responsible non-Indians today--unrealistic, to say the least. Artistically, however, the book is impressive. In large, double-page spreads, the illustrator interprets the text with reverence. Detailed, crosshatched drawings in colored inks and washes create a series of striking, panoramic scenes. Providing as it does a philosophical and historical basis to the present-day ecological movement, this might be a good choice to read aloud on Earth Day. (Reviewed Nov. 1, 1991)
Horn Book
Though the text bears little resemblance to Chief Seattle's original speech - having been rewritten to be a testimony to the supposed belief of Native Americans in the unity of man and nature - it rings as warning and prophecy in modern ears and is resonant with far-seeing wisdom. Jeffers's delicate yet strong illustrations offer a combination of sadness and hope. Potent and timely.
Kirkus Reviews
In the 1850's, when the US wanted to buy his people's Pacific Northwest land, Chief Seattle delivered this eloquent message to a Commissioner of Indian Affairs; since then, it has been adapted several times, by Joseph Campbell among others. Poetic and compelling, it's a plea to revere and preserve the web of creation: ``Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.'' Jeffers's finely detailed art focuses on the beauty and nobility of the Native Americans' world, with a tidy clear-cut forest to represent the depredations to come. A handsome setting for an ever-more resonant appeal. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 5+)"
Publishers Weekly

In this picture book adapted from a speech purportedly delivered by Chief Seattle at treaty negotiations in the 1850s, "Seattle's words and Jeffers's images create a powerful message," said PW. Ages 5-up. (July)

School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-- Chief Sealth (called ``Seattle'' by Jeffers) may not, in fact, be the historical source of the speech commonly attributed to him, and abridged and adapted here. But the message it conveys has never been more pointed, poignant, and powerful. Jeffers's popular pen-and-color style means that the illustrations are romantic and attractive. Alas, her entire stock of characters appears to have come from Sioux Central Casting, complete with Plains ponies and tipis (and one incongruous birchbark canoe lifted from the Algonquians). The beautiful and important words of the text (``The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. . . All things are connected like the blood that unites us.'') are not well served by images that ignore the rich diversity of Amerindian cultures (even Sealth's own Northwest people) in favor of cigar-store redskins in feathers and fringe. Where Jeffers's book is used, it should be supplemented with others more sensitive to Native American heritage. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Word Count: 760
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 6406 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q01597
Lexile: 920L

The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth. The great American Indian Chief Seattle spoke these words over a hundred years ago. His remarkably relevant message of respect for the Earth and every creature on it has endured the test of time and is imbued with passion born of love of the land and the environment. Illustrated by award-winning artist Susan Jeffers, the stirring pen-and-color drawings bring a wide array of Native Americans to life while capturing the splendor of nature and the land. Children and parents alike will enjoy the timeless, poignant message presented in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

"Together, Seattle's words and Jeffers's images create a powerful message; this thoughtful book deserves to be pondered and cherished by all." (Publishers Weekly )

Illustrated by Susan Jeffers.

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