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“He Keeps Them Awake”

October 26, 2015

Amen, Ronnie!

Ronnie McBrayer

red jacketRecently my father gave me a superb little book that contains three great speeches by past Native American chieftains. One speech was by Chief Joseph; one by Chief Seattle – both leaders of tribes in the American northwest; and the third was by a lesser known man named Chief Red Jacket.

Red Jacket was of the Seneca tribe, who lived in what is now New York State and regions of Canada. Red Jacket was once called to a council in 1805 by Christian missionaries from New England. The purpose of this council was to impress and impose upon him and the Seneca tribe, the Christian faith. After the missionaries had finished their lectures, Red Jacket stood to speak. The Senecas rarely called their chief “Red Jacket.” His tribe called him “Sagoyewatha.” It means “He Keeps Them Awake,” so great were his speaking skills. And Red Jacket’s response should wake us all.

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