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. While I admire Chief Seattle (Sealth) and support the aims of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, my vote today goes to Bertha. As one who spent the first 15 years of her life in the UK, I owe a debt of gratitude to Queen Bertha. Besides,my cousin was for many years before his death a member of the congregation of St. Martin's, Canterbury.

    PS:to David Creech - the HBC didn't hand out smallpox-infected blankets. You're thinking of events that occurred during the French-Indian Wars in the late 18th century. Furthermore, it's a tsatske or a tchotchke, never a chotsky - not even one named Noat.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I was a little sloppy in that paragraph. The intent was to draw attention to the harm that companies like HBC caused in their exploitation of the Americas.

      Also, the classy online resource Urban Dictionary is just fine with the use of chotsky. So there 🙂

  2. I would have voted for Chief Seattle no matter what, just to take down Bertha of Kent, because she took down Saint Edmund, for whom my parish is named - and Christian or not, I am still bitter!
    Loyal, but bitter!

  3. Bertha of Kent made an enormous contribution to bringing Christianity to England. That’s why I’m voting for her.

    Re honoring Native Americans: I’ve voted for Kateri Tekakwitha in the past. I don’t think Chief Seattle is in her league.

  4. Thank you for the link to the Duwamish Tribal Store. I have purchased a new journal, some tea, and a beautiful print to hang in my house in honor of my First Nations brothers and sisters and to commemorate my vote for the incomparable Chief Sealth.
    I love March Madness!

  5. Continuing to vote for Chief Sealth, the man who freed his slaves after he became a Christian, setting an example that too few Christians followed, at the time.

    (What's a "chotsky"? The Yiddish word -- if that's what was intended -- is usually transliterated as "tchotchke," or something close; of its Slavic antecedents, the closeset would be the Russian "tsatski.")

  6. I get frustrated reading comments by people who say they voted for a candidate because of the person's ethnicity. This is not a contest of which person comes from the most persecuted ethnicity; it's about who has done the most for Christianity, and perhaps, also for the Episcopal Church. By coming to England, attracting St. Augustine to come and work with her, and converting the populace, Bertha of Kent could be said to be the basis of the Anglican church. So I voted for her.

  7. Barbie's Hudson Bay Company coat looks an awful lot like Pendleton Woolen Mill's Glacier National Park design.

    Someone in the comments mentioned that they thought the price of the blanket was connected to the number of stripes, and per Pendleton's write up about their blanket it is.

    "The original blankets incorporated three, four or five black stripes in the design, which indicated the value of the blanket."

    Of course the Glacier National Park blanket woven from virgin wool in the Pacific NW is going to set you back at least $31.25/stripe.

    I really like Bertha and want to go to Canterbury and work her trail. I have been to Seattle but not (yet) to the Duwamish Cultural Center or Old Man House State Park.

    I was leaning towards voting for Bertha, but the fireboat and the tie in to Chief Sealth's baptismal name of Noah, tipped me the other way.

    I do hope both Bertha of Kent and The Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi will appear in future Lent Madness brackets along with The Very Rev. John Donne. Just in three different years, least I have to pick one over the other.