NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES

75px-Luther_Standing_Bear

“The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of the forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the land that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers; he belongs just as the buffalo belongs…

Luther Standing Bear (1868?-1939) Oglala Sioux chief


“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.”

Chief Dan George


75px-Chief_Red_Shirt_Oglala_Sioux

I hope the Great Heavenly Father, who will look down upon us, will give all the tribes His blessing, that we may go forth in peace, and live in peace all our days, and that He will look down upon our children and finally lift us far above the earth; and that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as His children, that all the tribes may be His children, and as we shake hands to-day upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace.

—Red Cloud [Marpiya-Luta] (late 19th century) Oglala Sioux chief


…everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.

Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket] (1888-1936) Salish


The life of an Indian is like the wings of the air. That is why you notice the hawk knows how to get his prey. The Indian is like that. The hawk swoops down on its prey; so does the Indian. In his lament he is like an animal. For instance, the coyote is sly; so is the Indian. The eagle is the same. That is why the Indian is always feathered up; he is a relative to the wings of the air.

—Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux Holy Man


“I do not see a delegation for the Four Footed. I see no seat for the Eagles.
We forget and we consider ourselves superior.
But we are after all a mere part of Creation. And we must consider to understand where we are.
And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant.
Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the Creation.”
—Chief Oren Lyons, Oneida
—From an address to the Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 1977


Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and a high regard for sharing. When a girl picked her first berries and dug her first roots, they were given away to an elder so she would share her future success. When a child carried water for the home, an elder would give compliments, pretending to taste meat in water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl. The child was encouraged not to be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling.

—Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket] (1888-1936) Salish


The End Of Florida

“The Creator made it so that Florida was shaped like the nose of a deer. One of these days soon the Creator will break the nose off the deer. Florida will break off and fall into the sea. Yes, you watch, it will happen. The time is just about here. Nothing can stop it.”
And what will happen to the people of Florida? He smiled darkly, rocking in his chair.
“All dead,” he says. “All be dead.”

—Buffalo Jim, Seminole Wisdom Keeper


Conversation was never begun at once, nor in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation. Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that, “thought comes before speech.”

—Luther Standing Bear (1868?-1939) Oglala Sioux Chief


Reservation Preacher
by Joel Randall
Fat and Soft Preaching Lies Begging Money
Arrogant and Proud of his Indian Name
Walking Eagle Reservation Preacher
Didn’t know the Meaning
Walking Eagle
Too Full of Shit to Fly.


When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.”

—Geronimo [Goyathlay] (1829-1909) Chiracahua Apache chief


For an important marriage the chief preceded, aided by his wife. He passed a pipe around the room so each could share a smoke in common. In this way families were publicly united to banish any past or future disagreements and thus stood as “one united.” The chief then gave the couple an oration of his advice, pointing out the good characteristics of each, and then offered his congratulations to them for a happy future.

—Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket] (1888-1936) Salish


“making a noise in this world
making a noise in this world
you can bet your ass, I won’t go quietly
making a noise in this world.”

Robbie Robertson


“We are going by you without fighting if you will let us, but we are going by you anyhow!”

Chief Joseph’s warning to the defenders of Fort Fizzle in Montana


Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike–brothers of one father and one another, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all.

—Joseph (Himnaton Yalatkit) (1830-1904) Nez Perce chief


Of all the animals the horse is the best friend of the Indian, for without it he could not go on long journeys. A horse is the Indian’s most valuable piece of property. If an Indian wishes to gain something, he promises that if the horse will help him he will paint it with native dye, that all may see that help has come to him through the aid of his horse.

—Brave Buffalo (late 19th century) Teton Sioux medicine man


The old Indian teaching was that is is wrong to tear loose from its place on the earth anything that may be growing there. It may be cut off, but it should not be uprooted. The trees and the grass have spirits. Whatever one of such growth may be destroyed by some good Indian, his act is done in sadness and with a prayer for forgiveness because of his necessities…

—Wooden Leg (late 19th century) Cheyenne


“The Great Spirit is in all things. He is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us…..That which we put into the ground she returns to us.”

—Bedage


When a man does a piece of work which is admired by all we say that it is wonderful; but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, and the changing seasons upon the earch, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.

—Chased-by-Bears (1843-1915) Santee-Yanktonai Sioux


The Earth is the Mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect the river to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.

—Joseph [Hinmaton Yalatkit] (1830-1904) Nez Perce chief


It is strictly believed and understood by the Sioux that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices, and promises. Therefore the child is considered “sent by Wakan Tanka,” through some element–namely the element of human nature.

—Robert Higheagle (early 20th century) Teton Sioux


I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew a free breath…I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted over that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.

—Ten Bears [Parra-wa-samem] (late 19th century) Yamparethka Comanche chief


The idea of full dress for preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability. The preparation is for death, in case that should be the result of conflict. Every Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet the great Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether in imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sickness or injury at times of peace.

—Wooden Leg (late 19th century) Cheyenne


It was supposed that lost spirits were roving about everywhere in the invisible air, waiting for children to find them if they searched long and patiently enough…[The spirit] sang its spiritual song for the child to memorize and use when calling upon the spirit guardian as an adult.

—Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket] (1888-1936) Salish


Do you know or can you believe that sometimes the idea obtrudes…whether it has been well that I have sought civilization with its bothersome concomitants and whether it would not be better even now…to return to the darkness and most sacred wilds (if any such can be found) of our country and there to vegetate and expire silently, happily and forgotten as do the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. The thought is a happy one but perhaps impracticable.

—Ely S. Parker (1828-1895) Seneca Iroquois sachem, Brigadier General U.S. Army


A warrior who had more than he needed would make a feast. He went around and invited the old and needy….The man who would thank the food–some worthy old medicine man or warrior–said: “…look to the old, they are worthy of old age; they have seen their days and proven themselves. With the help of the Great Spirit, they have attained a ripe old age. At this age the old can predict or give knowledge or wisdom, whatever it is; it is so. At the end is a cane. You and your family shall get to where the cane is.”

—Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux Holy Man


When I am too old and feeble to follow my sheep or cultivate my corn, I plan to sit in the house, carve Katicina dolls, and tell my nephews and nieces the story of my life… Then I want to be buried in the Hopi way. Perhaps my boy will dress me in the costume of a Special Officer, place a few beads around my neck, put a paho and some sacred corn meal in my hand, and fasten inlaid turquoise to my ears. If he wishes to put me in a coffin, he may do even that, but he must leave the lid unlocked, place food near by, and set up a grave ladder so that I can climb out. I shall hasten to my dear ones, but I will return with good rains and dance as a Katcina in the plaza with my ancestors…

—Don Talayesva (late 19th century) Hopi Sun Clan chief


There is no death. Only a change of worlds.

—Seattle [Seatlh] (1786-1866) Suquamish chief


Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike…Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of the quiet.

—Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man.


SPEAKING OF COLUMBUS

If you kill one person, you get death.
If you kill a group of people, due to a white collar crime, you get a pathetic little fine!
If you kill millions, you get a national holiday!

—ALINA MORELLI