The website MormonLeaks says Chief Seattle was baptized posthumously in the Mormon church.
The website released purported baptism documents for 17 long-dead people. One set of documents says the famous Native American for whom the City of Seattle was named was baptized in 1991.
A representative for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City said Tuesday that the church doesn’t comment on the authenticity of leaked documents.
Ryan McKnight, founder of MormonLeaks, said in an email: "We stand by all of the documents we have released so far including the ones today."
The documents show that Chief Seattle, an ancestral elder of the Suquamish Tribe, was referred for baptism three times in 1991. A spokeswoman for the Suquamish Tribe said they hadn't heard of this baptism but didn't want to comment further without knowing more details.
Such posthumous baptisms within the church are common, and most are aimed at the ancestors of Mormons.
But sometimes the baptisms create friction. For instance, Jewish groups have objected to the baptism of Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The church advises members to seek baptism for the dead only on behalf of relatives. But a church article acknowledges that the names of non-relatives and the famous are submitted, too, occasionally by pranksters, and that such instances “sometimes cause pain and embarrassment.”
The list released Tuesday contains more Native Americans, including Sacajawea, Geronimo and Chief Crazy Horse.
And there are other public figures – Bob Marley and Albert Einstein, for instance.
Then there’s No. 4 on the list.
See the Chief Seattle documents: