Chief Seattle vs. Bertha of Kent

In the penultimate matchup of the Elate Eight, Chief Seattle takes on Bertha of Kent. To make it to the Elate Eight, Chief Seattle took down Botulph and John Donne, while Bertha sent Olga of Kiev and Edmund packing.

Yesterday, Jonathan Daniels easily advanced to the Faithful Four by defeating Florence Li Tim-Oi 68% to 32%.

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Bertha of Kent

Queen Bertha of Kent: more than 1400 years after her death, the world still feels the effects of this silent, albeit powerful, influence on history and Christianity. Her confidence and authority are depicted in stained glass windows, prayers cards, mosaics, on medals, and other Christian articles and items.

Arguably her most famous presentation is her statue in Canterbury, leading the way for Queen Bertha’s Walk and the 14 bronze plaques denoting the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Included is the Church of St. Martin, which her husband King Ethelbert provided to her upon their marriage, and is considered the oldest church in the English-speaking world.

Notwithstanding, she made her mark on other aspects of society as well, as evidenced in the Bertha planters, postcards, mugs, books, and even a Bertha film.

My absolute favorite is the Queen Bertha line of silverware!

Neva Rae Fox


Chief Seattle

There is one known photograph of Chief Sealth. He was only recently canonized by the ELCA (his feast day is June 7). As such, there’s not a whole lot of kitsch to be found. Fear not, however, your intrepid and resourceful Celebrity Blogger was on the hunt (that’s why they pay us the big bucks, er… small stipend… but, oh the fame… sorry, I digress).

First up, no veneration of Sealth would be complete without a proper likeness. So here ya go!

I am not sure what exactly makes this a representation of Chief Sealth. But it’s listed on eBay as a “Chief Sealth Doll” so I guess we just roll with it?

His daughter, Princess Angeline, has a doll in her honor as well. This one feels a bit more legit. I think.

So long as we are showcasing dolls, how about this “Hudson’s Bay Company Collection Barbie”? On sale now for a cool $59.99.

What does this have to do with Chief Sealth, you ask? Well, Sealth traded with Hudson’s Bay Company. In return for beaver pelts (which would apparently be turned into fine top hats), Native Americans would be given blankets matching the iconic pattern of Barbie’s coat. Tragically, as is well known, many of the blankets also came with smallpox. This cute chotsky has thus been aptly renamed “Hudson’s Bay Company Collection Colonial Barbie.”

But enough with dolls and sad stories. Looking for some sweet Sealth swag you can lay your head on? How about this rad throw pillow? Who says woke piety can’t be comfy?

Some in this venerable competition have lamented that I did not discuss enough Sealth’s conversion to Christianity. In an effort to rectify that (intentional) framing, when Sealth was baptized in 1848, he took the name Noah. Noah, you may recall, had a big boat. Well, so does Chief Sealth.

Not just any boat, but a fire boat. To, you know, save people from fires.

Speaking of fires, after Sealth signed the Port Madison Treaty there were some who were not too fond of him. Fearing for his life, he retreated to the “Old Man House,” his father’s bighouse (a type of longhouse, and the largest in Washington state at the time) where he lived until his death. After he died, the United States Government burnt it to the ground to discourage Native Americans from congregating there. Later, Washington made the location of the house a state park. You can visit the park and nab this nifty sticker for your Hydroflask or laptop.

Finally, you may like this sweet tee with a stylized image the Space Needle with Sealth’s name in Duwamish below. (Ngl, I think it’s actually kinda rad.). There are many other cool items in the Duwamish tribe store. You can support the tribe by purchasing items from their store found here.

David Creech


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63 comments on “Chief Seattle vs. Bertha of Kent”

  1. I'm voting for Sealth this time, because I like both the Kitsch and the write-up. Others may have more serious and appropriate reasons for their vote. But, this is Lent Madness! Go for it

    1. If I am honest, it was my reason as well, although it is definitely time to honour our indigenous people.

    2. I like Bertha,out there among the people. A princess indeed.
      Good link to an interesting store as well

  2. Liked Chief Sealth kitch but Bertha gets my vote for her influence on the king kinda like Queen Esther of biblical fame.

  3. Well, I bought the Stealth tee-shirt, but voted to Bertha who did more for the cause of Christianity in the world.

  4. What are we voting for? Who has the most cha keys? Not a word about the person's accomplishments.

    1. Welcome to the ranks of the Kitsch Cranks. Check out this week's Monday Madness video. Make a little room in your Lent Madness for some madness and fun!

    2. Zoe, there is a lot already about these contenders in their previous write-ups. Check them out in the archives. Today is all about kitsch - the kitschier the better!

    3. You can read the original writeups by going to the bracket, scrolling down, and clicking on the name.

    4. Check the Archives from the earlier rounds for the more serious bios. When I first looked in on Lent Madness years ago, during the last round, I was saying Whaaaat? You get a better picture if you read all the writeups (or refresh your memory). Enjoy!

  5. Once again the kitsch round proves its worth!
    Follow the link to the Duwamish website, and you will find not only the gift shop, but a page devoted to the tribe's legal fight for recognition STILL ONGOING IN 2023!!!! So, whether or not you vote for Seattle, pray for justice for all Indigenous people, and support them, perhaps by buying a tchotchke with the slogan STAND WITH THE DUWAMISH bearing Seattle's likeness.

    1. Thank you, Melissa, for sending us to the Duwamish website, so we can think about the Duwamish today.

    2. The Chinook, like the Duwamish, are also seeking federal tribal recognition.

  6. Not sure who will get my vote, today, but there should be a second golden-halo for all of our celebrity bloggers!
    Lent Madness, provides not only information and inspiration, but a hearty laugh, too...and all For the Greater Glory of God (AMGD).
    Hooray for the Merch and the Mirth!

    1. Instead that should say AMDG.
      Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (Latin), meaning "For the greater glory of God," the motto of the Society of Jesus.
      Apologies to any Jesuits among us.

      1. AMDG is/are my initials and is on my license plate! Am I dishonoring either God or the Jesuits (or both)? That is not my plan

  7. All honor to Queen Bertha, but I voted for Chief Stealth because he is one of the New World's Indigenous People, and because I like his last speech. My reliable source Googled it and found it to be possibly not authentic, but I still would like to believe that he thought something like what he wrote.

  8. I voted for Chief Sealth, and I am planning a trip to visit my family there in June, so I am adding the Duwamish Cultural Center and Longhouse to my list, with a visit to their store, of course! If I make it back to England, I will try to squeeze in a hike along Queen Bertha's Walk, as well, but Seattle is definite. It's the place of my birth, as well, and for that reason, Chief Sealth is my man.

  9. How many of this year’s saints have a high school named after them? Seal th High School, in West Seattle.

  10. My vote had to go to Bertha. Her influence allowed Christianity to come to England which led to the Anglican way which led to the Episcopal way. For which I am very grateful!

  11. I am abstaining today, as I can't wholeheartedly vote for either. Last fall my church's Sacred Ground group held a potluck and showed the documentary Native Voices: Speaking to the Church and the World. And I would absolutely VOTE today for any of the Native American folks, lay or clergy, who spoke out in that documentary -- it was a powerful witness to their faith AND to the historical damage done. Both were presented powerfully and with honesty. Or I would vote for Louise Erdrich or any of our contemporary Native American writers who have helped me undertand the contemporary lives of first Americans. But I can't wrap my head around Chief Sealth as to who he really was, speaking for himself, in his own voice. And I can't really wrap my head around Bertha and what Christianity -- Jesus -- really meant to her.

  12. The voting is closer than I thought. I cast my vote for Bertha, although the Kitsch for Chief Sealth was impressive, in part because I am much more likely to walk the Queen Bertha Walk, and also silver cutlery!

  13. Chief Sealth is finally getting his due. As an environmentalist, a former Seattleite & mother of a Seattleite, how could I not vote for him?

  14. Chief Sealth gets my vote. Both were leaders of their people who expanded the Christian message - by their work and example. However, I continue to struggle with how we celebrate kings, queens and other patriarchal folk and their use of political power to convert the masses. This was not Jesus' way.

  15. For 30 years a Holy Woman worked in my home as baby sitterr, housekeeper, and a source of love and tranquillity. My children learned love and kindness and good manners from her. I know she is with God as one of the saints named Bertha. Bertha of Kent gets my vote in her honor and memory.

  16. Voting for Bertha for the silverware and in protest of the overuse of “rad” in the Chief Seattle write up!

    1. David meant "redd," in honor of salmon spawning grounds (none of which, that I know of, are in Seattle harbor), which were of utmost importance to the local indigenous peoples.

  17. Great job, bloggers! I actually did a search for "Colonial Barbie," as I was interested in what beaver-and-feather-hatted, pith-helmeted images I might find, and there IS a Colonial Barbie, tricked out full Betsy Ross fashion, with NO IRONY whatsoever. The thought of our government (both Washingtons) burning down longhouses so tribes couldn't gather saddens me. American children deserve to be taught their history honestly and completely. Still, this last week Fort Pickett was renamed Fort Barfoot, and the U.S. Army has begun the long overdue project of removing Confederate names from army bases. That the losers’ names should ever have been on army bases in the first place is one of the vile historical distortions that white supremacy entails. Denial is a powerful drug. For those who wonder why we should talk about cultural and political issues in a discussion of the saints, and how they might matter to us today, perhaps John 8:32 will answer your question.

    1. I think it's important to discuss cultural and political issues when talking about Saints. Many were martyred because of these issues.
      And even though I didn't have a question, John 8:32 is a great answer.

    2. Amen sister.

      "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

      What struggles we are going through as a nation to look truthfully. And what injustices are being perpetrated right now, as many have been noting, to cling to our ignorance.

    3. The 'loser's' names went on forts as a symbolic step towards changing defeat into reconciliation -- it didn't always work that way, but the intent was certainly a worthy one and far preferable to today's 'cancel culture'.

  18. I'm from Seattle. I've been to the Duwamish Long House and gift shop. If you are ever in Seattle do please go to it and support the tribe!
    A comment on the comments that suggest Chief Sealth didn't do much for the propagation of Christianity. First, only God really knows and secondly, whose standards are being applied? I wonder if there isn't some colonial mindset involved in that judgement. My skin is white. As a people we seem to be shortsighted about the damage we have done around the world for the cause of Christ.

  19. This is tough. Being a Northwest Native I feel the need to vote for "Chief Seattle" but Bertha may be more deserving. But I will vote for "Seattle." Remember the history of the Duwamish is much more complicated than expressed above. "Seattle" was also Suquamish and many of his decedents are now Muckleshoot. Tribes have a very complicated history and to just say he was Duwamish and that the current "Duwamish" are his ancestors oversimplifies things.


  20. I do not think the Hudson blankets were infused with smallpox. These were new blankets. The blankets that spread the disease and others were dropped along the Oregon Trail, especially, had been abandoned because someone who had died had used it. Some of this may have been deliberate on the part of the US government, once they figured the blankets were the spreaders. I may be wrong, but I've read a lot of Indian literature and none mention the Hudson Bay company as a "spreader." Incidentally, the number of strips on the blanket had significance. Cost, I think.

    1. The British used intentionally infected blankets around the Great Lakes as weapons.

  21. Both admirable but my vote goes to Bertha because of my great interest in AngloSaxon history and the role women of some influence were able to play during those times.

  22. You got me at “Hudson’s Bay Company ‘Collection’ Colonial Barbie.” That right there sums up why I am continuing to vote for Chief Sealth. Through the Truth and Reconciliation process we colonial settlers still have a lot of learning to do. May humility and justice prevail.

  23. Another close call, but I went with Bertha. I had voted for each of them previously, so I hadn't neglected Seattle.

    Having been to Canterbury Cathedral this past spring gave me a bit of a nudge. I'm sure I saw her statue, but I'm afraid I don't remember it from among so many others.