NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES-PART 2
Chief – Pawnee:
"In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn.. all things tell of Tirawa. All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly.... We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two."
Dove – Salish:
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.
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."
Winnemucca – Paiute:
Thunder – Wabanaki Algonquin:
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."
– Teton Lakota:
birds, even those of the same species, are not alike, and it is the
same with animals and with human beings. The reason WakanTanka does
not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is
because each is placed here by WakanTanka to be an independent
individuality and to rely upon itself."
George Copway – Ojibwa Chief:
“Among the people
there have been no written laws. Customs handed down from generation
to generation have been the only laws to guide them. Every one might
act different from what was considered right did he choose to do so,
but such acts would bring upon him the censure of the Nation.... This
fear of the Nation's censure acted as a mighty band, binding all in
one social, honorable compact.”
Plenty Coups – Crow:
ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our
Aupumut – Mohican – 1725:
it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with
the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a
little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home."
wee child toddling in a wonder world, I prefer to their dogma my
excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great
Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty
waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. If this is Paganism, then
at present, at least, I am a Pagan."
Horse – Lakota Sioux:
was hostile to the white man...We preferred hunting to a life of
idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat
and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be let
alone. Soldiers came...in the winter..and destroyed our villages. Then
Long Hair (Custer) came...They said we massacred him, but he would
have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape...but we
were so hemmed in we had to fight. After that I lived in peace, but
the government would not let me alone. I was not allowed to remain
quiet. I was tired of fighting...They tried to confine me...and a
soldier ran his bayonet into me. I have spoken.”
Bull – Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux:
am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he
would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain
wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each
man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows.
We are poor..but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If
we must die...we die defending our rights."
Cloud – Oglala Sioux:
1868, men came out and brought papers. We could not read them and they
did not tell us truly what was in them. We thought the treaty was to
remove the forts and for us to cease from fighting. But they wanted to
send us traders on the Missouri, but we wanted traders where we were.
When I reached Washington, the Great Father explained to me that the
interpreters had deceived me. All I want is right and just." I am
poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want
riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us
no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not
want riches. We want peace and love.”
Ipinia, Yurok Artist:
Indian is mainly in your heart. It's a way of walking with the earth
instead of upon it. A lot of the history books talk about us Indians
in the past tense, but we don't plan on going anywhere... We have lost
so much, but the thing that holds us together is that we all belong to
and are protectors of the earth; that's the reason for us being
here. Mother Earth is not a resource, she is an
Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left
as it was. The country was made with no lines of demarcation, and it's
no man's business to divide it. I see the whites all over the country
gaining wealth, and I see the desire to give us lands which are
worthless. The Earth and myself are of one mind.
you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit.
If I thought you were sent by the creator, I might he induced to think
you had a right to dispose of me.
not misunderstand me; but understand me fully with reference to my
affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to
do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of
it is the one who created it.
claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to
return to yours.
we have listened to your talk coming from our father, the Great White
Chief in Washington, and my people have called upon me to reply to
you. The winds which pass through these aged pines we hear
the moaning of departed ghosts, and if the voice of our people could
have been heard, that act would never have been done. But
alas though they stood around they could neither be seen nor
heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain. I
hear my voice in the depths of the forest but no answering voice comes
back to me. All is silent around me. My words
must therefore be few. I can now say no more.
He is silent for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.”
fathers gave us many laws which they had learned from their
fathers. They told us to treat all men as they treated
us. That we should never be the first to break a bargain.
That it was a disgrace to tell a lie. That we should speak
only the truth. We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and
hears everything and that he never forgets. This I believe
and all my people believe the same.”
are fought to see who owns the land, but in the end it possesses man.Who
dares say he owns it- is he not buried beneath it?"
Black Elk – Oglala Sioux:
are a person who belongs to a community, you have to know who you
are. You have to know who your relatives are, and as a tribe
we have to know where we came from.”
among my people was like traveling in a canoe. The man sat in front and
paddled the canoe. The woman sat in the stern but she steered.”
Nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the
ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor
how strong its weapons.”
patience. All things change in due time. Wishing
cannot bring autumn glory or cause winter to cease.”
your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.”
all things and in all things, we are relatives.”
Standing Bear – Teton Sioux:
with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active
principle. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered
and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
Qoyawayma – Hopi:
who are clay blended by the Master Potter, come from the kiln of
Creation in many hues. How can people say one skin is colored, when each
has its own coloration? What should it matter that one bowl is dark and
the other pale, if each is of good design and serves its purpose
on a rainbow trail, walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be
beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a
It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Rogers – Cherokee:
Rogers once was asked: Are you an American citizen? He responded:
"Well", he drawled, "I think I am. My folks were Indian. Both my mother and father had Cherokee blood in them. (I was) born and raised in Indian Territory. 'Course we're not the Americans whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, but we met them at the boat when they landed."
is no such thing as 'part-Cherokee.' Either you're Cherokee or you’re
Collier, Former Commissioner of Indian Affairs:
had an ancient lost reverence for the earth and its web of
life. They had what the world has lost. The world must have
it back lest it die."
White Deer – Chickasaw (1994):
think the Spirit, is the one thing we have to rely on. It has
been handed to us as a live and precious coal. And each
generation has to make that decision whether they want to blow on that
coal to keep it alive or throw it away... Our language, our histories
and culture are like a big ceremonial fire that's been kicked and
stomped and scattered...Out in the darkness we can see those coals
glowing. But our generation, whether in tribal government or
wherever we find ourselves--Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek,
Seminole--are coal gatherers. We bring the coals back, assemble them and
breathe on them again, so we can spark a flame around which we might
James – Modoc (1996):
how to withhold judgment. Learn to listen. Get in touch with your own
inner self. Look at life with joy. Don't ever cry over something that
cannot cry over you."
Seattle – Suquamish/Duwamish (1790-1866:
Elk – Oglala Sioux:
have noticed that everything an Indian does in a circle, and that is
because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything
tries to be round.
the power of the world does is done in a circle. The sky is
round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are
all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power,
whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the
same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a
circle. The moon does the same and both are
round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing
and always come back again to where they were.
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."
(sacred) ceremonies do not belong to Indians alone, they can be done by
all who have the right attitude...and who are honest and sincere about
their beliefs in Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit) and follow the rules.
Survival of the world depends on our sharing what we have, and working
together. If we don't the whole world will die. First the planet, and
next the people."
Instructions For Living - Passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman:
do it this way - that is, whatever you do in life, do the very best you
can with both your heart and mind. And if you you do it that way, the
Power of the Universe will come to your assistance, if your heart and
mind are in Unity. When one sits in the Hoop Of The People, one must be
responsible because All of Creation is related. And the hurt of one is
the hurt of all. And the honor of one is the honor of all. And whatever
we do affects everything in the universe. If you do it that way - that
is, if you truly join your heart and mind as One - whatever you ask for,
that's the way it's going to be.
Snake – Creek:
the first white man came over the wide waters, he was but a little
man…very little. His legs
were cramped by sitting long in his big boat, and he begged for a little
land. But when the white
man had warmed himself at the Indian’s fire, and had filled himself
with the Indian’s hominy, he became very large.”
Tassel – Cherokee (1785):
say: Why do not the Indians till the ground and live as we do? May we
not ask, why the white people do not hunt and live as we do?
The great God of Nature has given each their lands…he has
stocked yours with cows, ours with bufflalo; yours with hog, ours with
bear; yours with sheep, ours with deer.
He has indeed given you an advantage, in that your cattle are
tame and domestic while ours are wild and demand not only a larger space
for range, but art to hunt and kill them.”
in no small part, to many Creek Indians allying themselves with General
Andrew Jackson during the so-termed “Creek War”, Jackson came out
with fame and glory…eventually the Presidency itself.
His Allies, however, did not fare so well as history shows in
probably one of the most blatant acts of outright robbery of a people,
certainly within United States history, known.
Chief Menewa was one of those to whom Jackson owed much. Another was William McIntosh (White Stick) who was later
assassinated by for betraying his tribe.
Red Stick War Chief Menewas took eight enemy bullets at the
battle of Horseshoe Bend, yet managed to survive it!
It is a question to ponder though, that perhaps it would have
been kinder to him had he died. For
later, he lost all his lands and his possessions to the pure greed of
the “Americans” at the time, while Jackson seemed to lose his sight
due, perhaps, to the elevation of his vaunted perch upon the branch of
Menewass – Creek (1835:
night I saw the sun set for the last time, and its light shine upon the
tree tops and the land and the water that I am never to look upon
– Seminole: 1838:
Jacket (Sagoyewatha) – Seneca:
forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island.
Their numbers were small. We
took pity on them, and they sat down among us.
We gave them corn and meant.
They gave us poison in return.”
personally, find an intriguing simularity to the name “Metacom” who
is quoted below, and the name of an “angel/messsenger” from various
scriptural types of writtings from out of the distant past.
This “angle” has also been said to have been the Biblical
Enoch of the Book of Genesis, who had his named changed after “…the
Lord took him away.”. The
War Chief Metacom:
little remains of my ancestors’ domain.
And I am resolved not to see the day when I have no country.”
we must be one as the English are, or we shall be destroyed.
You know our fathers had plenty of deer and skins and our plains
were full of game and turkeys, and our coves and rivers were full of
fish. But, brothers, since
these Englishmen have seized our country, they have cut down the grass
with scythes, and the trees with axes.
Their cows and horses eat up the grass, and their hogs spoil our
bed of clams; and finally we shall starve to death; therefore, I ask
you, resolve to act like men.”
think that the Axe-Makers are the eldest in the country and the greatest
in possession. We Human
Beings are the first and we are the eldest and the greatest.
These parts and countries were inhabited and trod upon by the
Human Beings before there were any Axe-Makers.”
know our lands are now become more valuable.
The white people think we do not know their value; but we are
sensible that the land is everlasting, and the few goods we receive for
it are soon worn out and gone.”
the Revolutionary War, various Native American peoples fought for and
with the Colonials or Great Britain.
In many respects, it was this “War of Independence” that
destroyed the League of Six Nations.
Some look back into history and condemn these Native Americans
for siding with Great Britain, thinking they should have sided one and
all, with the Colonials. Myself, I do not understand this reasoning; after all, in the
eyes of the Native Americans of the time, they were trying to regain
their “country”, with I am sure, the promises of Great Britain that
no more “lands” would be taken from them.
The only fault I can find with these Native Americans of the
time, is their shortsightedness in thinking that after all was said and
done, that had Great Britain won, there would have been, or done,
anything in the slightest bit difference than what had been done
already…and would be done in the future.
of these Native Americans would be considered amid the great men and
minds of the Time. As far
as I am concerned, of all Time. One
of these was Joseph Brant, the Mohawk War Chief.
He had aided in the split of the Iroquois Confederacy by siding
with Great Britain. Not
surprising, after the “War”, he moved to Canada.
Many times, Brant’s forces joined with Great Britain’s in
various battles. There are many of have wee minds who to this day love to
hearken back to those old days and tell tales of Native American
savagery and butchery. Hear
some words of Joseph Brant, from a Letter to some of Great Britain’s
Commanding Officers, with regard to the actions of some of their forces
which were with Brant during one such engagement.
Then, I ask of those of the former mindset – just who was/is
Brant – Mohawk:
I send you, by one of our runners, the child which we will deliver, that
you may know what ever others do, I do not make war on women and
children. I am sorry to say
that I have those engaged with me in the service who are more savage
than the savages themselves.”
man of us thought that, by fighting for the King, we should ensure for
ourselves and children, a good inheritance.”
whole white race is a monster who is always hungry, and what he eats is
Shaman – Wanapam:
had ponies long before we ever saw white people.
The Great Spirit gave them to us.
Our horses were swifter and more enduring too, before they were
mixed with the white man’s horses.”
Horses – Oglala Sioux:
I will follow the white man’s trail.
I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his
brudens. I will be cunning
as a coyote. I will ask him
to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my
children. Maybe they will ountrun the white man in his own shoes.”
Mitchell – Assiniboin:
Government issued a cow to each of us.
It was not time when every one of us had a nice bunch of cattle.
Every fall we used to ship a trainload of cattle to Chicago.
We were happy; we had plenty; we had nothing to worry about.
But this did not look good to the Indian Bureau.
They leased our reservation to a big cattle company.
In one year after that we were flat broke.”
Scott Momaday – Kiowa/Cherokee:
know how my father saw the world, and his father before him. That’s how I see the world.”
So, in closing I ask again: Just who
are the Ignorant Savages here?
The quotes have many sources; some I have remembered over the years; some I came across during ten plus years of cyber surfing and jotted them down never dreaming I would use them in an endeavor of this sort; a couple of them were "gifts" from my mother; some were sent to me via email and I have long since forgotten who sent them; and some were from a book published by Running Press called Native American Wisdom which was copyrighted in 1994. This is the best I can do as to giving credit, and I hope it suffices, for is it not the more important that such wise sayings and words be passed on to as many as possible?