Here in Saunderstown, we are East Coast through and through. There is nowhere else on Earth we'd rather call home. Smitten with our spectacular seaboard, we love our location.That said, all points Pacific have been in our thoughts in recent days. Perhaps it's because 160 OMs – made here in Rhode Island – have migrated there following the MTV Movie Awards. But regardless of the reason, our West Coast connections have been speaking loud and clear to us here in our studio. Our great nation's left flank has always held a special place in our affections, be in San Diego's climate or San Francisco's cool. But it's Seattle that appeals the most, for Seattle we have a soft spot. Have you been to Seattle? It has a monorail, for one thing, and that alone – in our eyes, at least – makes it great. But there's more, much more. The men flinging fish at Pike Place Market, Rachel the Brass Pig, the coffee culture, the people. The people in Seattle are hospitable. The people in Seattle are relaxed, laid back. The people in Seattle seem content. The people in Seattle appear better connected. It is, perhaps, little surprise given the city's foundations. You see, Seattle is named after the Suquamish leader Chief Si'ahl. He might have died in 1866, but Chief Si'ahl's influence is still apparent in this most scenic of cities. Chief Seattle – to give him his anglicized name – is perhaps our favourite thing about the place that paid him the ultimate honor, the place that took his title and respected his beliefs. In 1908, a statue of Chief Seattle was erected in Tilikum Place. It is amongst the most-popular sights in a town that has no shortage. But what was it that Si'ahl did to deserve such respect and what makes him such a firm favorite here in our studio, here in Saunderstown?
Let us explain. In the difficult days in which he lived, Si'ahl established a reputation as a friend of the settlers pouring into Puget Sound. Si'ahl claimed to have seen the first ships of the Vancouver Expedition yet did all he could to prevent a bloodshed that appeared inevitable. Si'ahl talked to the settlers, Si'ahl negotiated. Two different worlds came together, but Si'ahl remained determined to maintain relations and prevent conflict. The Puget Sound peacemaker, Si'ahl spoke. Si'ahl connected. Chief Si'ahl's speeches remain relevant to this day, a fact that is celebrated each August. The ever- popular Chief Seattle Days rank amongst biggest on the city's calendar. This summer will be the 100th such event. Even now, all these years later, reverence remains. For us, it is Chief Si'ahl's speeches that inspire the most for he was a notable orator. We've spent a little time studying this remarkable man and his words speak loud and clear. This is our favorite, for obvious reasons.
This is his legacy, his thoughts uniting us – the message communicating, connecting, speaking through the ages.
“This we know: All things are connected. Like the blood that unites us. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”
That speech makes us tingle. Here in Saunderstown, we doff our caps. Here's to Chief Si'ahl and all he stood for.