“And when the last red man shall have perished from the earth and his memory among white men shall have become a myth, these shores shall swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe. At night, when the streets of your cities and villages shall be silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless.” – Chief Seattle
In 1854, in exchange for a million-plus acres of fertile land belonging to the Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island Indian tribes, Governor Isaac Stevens offered Chief Leschi a reservation comprising about 1000 acres of hillside, rocky terrain that could not possibly sustain their livelihoods. This miscarriage of justice led to the Indian Wars of 1855-56, the killing of militiaman A.B. Moses and the consequent execution of the Nisqually chief.
The first person to be charged with murder in the Washington Territory, Leschi was hanged on February 19, 1858 for Moses’ murder but exonerated 146 years later in 2004.
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