Posted by: Randall Niles | June 27, 2009

John Muir – Travels to Alaska

John Muir, the famous 19th century explorer and naturalist, traveled to Alaska in 1879. In his book, Travels in Alaska, Muir tells an amazing story of the Thlinkit Indians.

Two Thlinkit tribes, the Stickeen and the Sitka, had been at war all summer. It was getting late in the year, and if they didn’t stop battling to store up food for the winter, they would all starve to death. So the Stickeen chief went out alone to a clearing and called out the leaders of the Sitka tribe.

“We have fought long enough; let us make peace. You brave Sitka warriors go home, and we will go home, and we will all set out to dry salmon and berries before it is too late.”

The Sitka chief replied, “You may well say let us stop fighting, when you have had the best of it. You have killed ten more of my tribe than we have killed of yours. Give us ten Stickeen men to balance our blood-account; then, and not till then, will we make peace and go home.”

“Very well,” replied the Stickeen chief, “you know my rank. You know that I am worth ten common men and more. Take me and make peace.”

This noble offer was promptly accepted; the Stickeen chief stepped forward and was shot down in sight of the fighting bands. Peace was thus established, and all made haste to their homes and ordinary work. The chief literally gave himself as a sacrifice for his people. He died that they might live.

Thirty years later, John’s account of Jesus was shared with the Thlinkit tribes. The chiefs immediately understood the message —

“Yes, your words are good,” they said. “The Son of God, the Chief of chiefs, the Maker of all the world, must be worth more than all mankind put together; therefore, when His blood was shed, the salvation of the world was made sure.”

Just Thinking,

Randall Niles

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