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Smokyriversongs' Look At Indian Life And The Lore
Indian Wisdom And Quotes













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Wisdom:

 

 

 

Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.

Remain close to the Great Spirit.

Show great respect for your follow beings.

Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.

Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.

Do what you know to be right.

Look after the well being of mind and body.

Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.

Be truthful and honest at all times.

Take full responsibility for your actions.

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Beauty is before me, and Beauty behind me, above me and below me hovers the Beautiful. I am surrounded by it, I am immersed in it. In my youth, I am aware of it, and in old age, I shall walk quietly the beautiful trail. In beauty it is begun. it is ended.

_Navajo_

 

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Earth, teach me. Earth, teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth, teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth, teach me caring as parents who secure their young.
Earth, teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth, teach me limitations as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth, teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth, teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in spring.
Earth, teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets life.
Earth, teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain,
_Ute_ 








 


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And now, Grandfather, I ask you bless the white man.

He needs your wisdom, your guidance.

You see, for so long, he has tried to destroy my people,

and only feels comfortable when given power.

Bless them, show them the peace we understand;

teach them humility.

For I fear they will someday destroy themselves and their

children.

As they have done so Mother Earth.

I plead, I cry.

After all they are my brothers...

 

 

 

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Indian walks with a silent step-no one knows he's near- he walks into the forest deep-his reason is so clear-he goes to commune-with the wild you see- he's not like you and me-but a native he is- to the land-and only the wild-can understand.

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Quotes:

 

 

 

 

Oh hear me, Grandfather, and help us, that our generation in the future will live and walk the good road with the flowering stick to success.

Also, the pipe of peace, we will offer it as we walk the good road to success.

Hear me, and hear our plea.

_Black Elk, Lakota_

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And so it was over. I did not know how much was ended.

When I look back now

"From this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women

and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as

plain as when I saw them with eyes still young.

And I see that something else died there in the bloody mud and was

buried in the blizzard.

A people's dream died there.

It was a beautiful dream."

 _Black Elk, Lakota Holy Man_

 

 

 

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My son, you are now flesh of my flesh and bone of my our bone.

But the ceremony preformed this day, every drop of white blood

was washed from your veins; you were taken into the Shawnee

nation...

You were adopted into a great family.

 _Black Fish, Shawnee_

Recalling the 1778 adoption of Daniel Boon into the tribe.

 

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Will you ever begin to understand the very meaning of the soil beneath your feet?

From a grain of sand to a great mountain, all is sacred.

Yesterday and tomorrow exist eternally upon this continent,

We natives are the guardians of this sacred place.

 

 _Peter Blue Cloud, Mohawk_ 

 

 

 

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When the Frenchman arrived at these falls, they came and kissed us...

They never mocked at our ceremonies, and they never molested the places

of our dead.

Seven generations of men have passed away, and we have not forgotten it.

 

_Chippewa Chief_

 

 

 

 

 

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This is our country. We have always lived in it.

We always had plenty to eat because the land was full...

We were happy...

Then you came.

First the traders, That was alright, for we were in need of blankets and kettles.

Then the soldiers came, we could understand that for we were soldiers.

Then other men came, They are farmers, they want to work the land.

That is not alright.

Land doesn't want to be worked.

Land gives you what you need, if you are smart enough to take it.

That is good land, but it is our land.

We know how to take what it gives us.

We don't want these people working this land.

You kill the land by taking things out of it...

We have to save our country.

We have to fight for what is ours.

 

 _Santanta, Kiowa_

 

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The white men have crowded the Indians back year by year until we are forced to live in a small country north of the Platte, and now our last hunting grounds, the home of the people.

is to be taken from us.

Our women and children will starve, but for my part I prefer to die fighting than by starvation.

 

 _Mahpiua Luta (Red Cloud), Oglala_

 

 

 

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Your forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island.

Their number was small.

We took pity on them, and they sat down among us.

We gave them corn and meat.

They gave us poison in return.

 

 _Sagoyewatha, Seneca_

 

 

 

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In the old days our people had no education,

All their wisdom and knowledge came to them from dreams.

They tested their dreams and in that way learned their own strength.

 

 _Sitting Bull, Ojibwa Elder_

 

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Tell them at Washington if they have one man who speaks the truth to send him to me,

and I will listen to what he has to say.

 

 _Sitting Bull, Ojibwa Elder_

 

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Hear me, four quarters of the world, A relative I am !

Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, give me the eyes to see the strength to understand.

Look upon these faces of children without number, That they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quite.

This is my prayer; he me.

_Black Elk, Lakota_

 

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Some of our chiefs make the claim that the land belongs to us.

It is not what the Great Spirit told me.

He told me that the land belongs to him, that no people own the land,

and that I was not to forget to tell this to the white people.

 _Kannekuk, Kickapoo Prophet_

 

 

 

 

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"Treat the earth well; it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

_Ancient Indian Proverb_

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Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a Supreme Power, and the principles of truth, honesty, equity, and brotherhood as a guide to mundane relations.

_Black Elk, Oglala Sioux Holy Man_

 

 

 

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"Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back with interest. We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank."

_Chief Maquinna, Nootka_

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"All things share the same breath... the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares it's spirit with all the life it supports."

_Chief Seattle, Dwamish_

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You now have become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have our country now, but you are not satisfied. You want to force your religion upon us. We are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We will wait a little while, and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said.

_Red Jacket, Seneca_

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A long time ago, in the beginning, the Creator gave all people and all things the Wisdom

and Knowledge of how to live in harmony. Some tribes call these teachings the Original

Instructions, the Original Teachings, or the Great Laws. All of Nature still lives and survives

according to these teachings. In modern times, human beings are searching for the Instructions.

Many churches claim they have these Instructions. Where are these teachings? The Instructions are written in our hearts.

Great Spirit, today, whisper to me the secrets of the Original Instructions.

"...Tunkshila. there is no time. Everything moves in the blink of an eye. It's as fast as thought.

So there is no speed there. There is no time in between."

_Wallace Black Elk, Lakota_

 

 

 

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Take a stroll through the forest. Noticing natures kingdom first hand

Feel the breeze upon your face. Touch the soil Smell the fragrance of life.

Taste the sweet freshness. Seek the Great Spirits' handy work. Sit for a moment and reflect. Watching the big picture come alive... To experience the greatness of being.Ask not of but seek. knowing real truth comes from within Remembering always? We are all related? To all creation in order for us As a whole, to gain rather than loose.

_Dream Walker_

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"A treaty, in the minds of our people, is an eternal word. events often make it seem expedient to depart from pledged word, but we are conscious that the first departure creates a logic for the second departure, until there is nothing left of the word."

_Declaration of Indian Purpose (1961) American Indian Chicago Conference_

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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.

_Tashanka Witko (Chief Crazy Horse), Oglala_

 
 

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I guess these old people, our ancestor people, they said that one day you will forget all your religion and your culture and all that... If we forget all about our culture and beliefs, we have nowhere to go, we don't know how to pray, we don't know how to use our corn pollen, corn meal, anything that we pray with, we forget all about that. before that happens, we'd better do something.

_Jimmy Toddy, Navajo_

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As a child I understood how to give, I have forgotten this grace since I have become civilized.

_ Luther Standing Bear, Oglala_

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You say: Why do not the Indians till the ground and live as we do? May we not ask, why do the white people not hunt and live as we do? The Great God of heaven has given each their lands... He has stocked 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 hard to hunt and kill.

_Corn Tassel, Cherokee,1785_

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" The Indian survived our open intention of wiping them out. And since the tide turned they have even weathered our good intentions toward them, which can be more deadly."

_John Steinbeck, American and Americans_

 

 


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You think that the Axe Makers are the eldest in the country and the greatest in possession. We Human Being are the first, and we are the eldest and the greatest. These parts and countries were inhabited and trod upon by the Human Beigns before there were any Axe Makers.

_Sadekanaktie, Onondaga_

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We have beaten the enemy every time; we cannot expect the same good fortune always to attend us. The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps. In spite of the watchfulness of our braves, we have never been able to surprise him. There is something that whispers to me that it would be prudent to listen to offers of peace.

_Little Turtle, Miami_

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The American Indian is of the soil, weather it be the region of forests, plains. pueblos, or messes. he fits into the landscape, for the hand that has fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sun flowers. he belongs just as the buffalo belonged...

_Luther Standing Bear, Oglala_

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We have lived upon this land from days beyond history's records, far past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place are one single story. We are always joined together.

_Pueblo Elder_

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What we are told as children is that people when they walk on the land leave their breath wherever they go. So where ever we walk, that particular spot on the earth never forgets us, and when we go back to these places, we know that the people who have lived there are in some way still there, and that we can actually partake of their breath and of their spirit.

_Rina Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo_

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"But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it surely will come. For even the white man, whose God talked with as friend with friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see."

_Chief Seattle, 1853_

 

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Brothers, we must be as one as the English are, or we shall all be destroyed. You know our fathers had plenty of deer and skins and our plains were full for 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.

_Miantonomi, Narragansett_

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When a white army battles Indians and wins, it is called a great victory, but if the lose it is called a massacre.

_Chiksika, Shawnee_

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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 earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.

_Chased-By-Bears, Sioux_

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Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and 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 the water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl. The child was encouraged not be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling.

_Mourning Dove, Salish_

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We are exceedingly tired. We have just heard of the ratification of the Choctaw Treaty. Our doom is sealed. There is no other course for us but to turn our faces to our new homes toward the setting sun.

_ David Folsom, Choctaw, 1830_

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You have noticed that everything that an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round... The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball. and so are the stars. The wind in it's greatest power whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours... Even the seasons form a circle in their changing. and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is in everything where power moves.

_Black Elk, Oglala_

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If we possessed such large canoes, we would follow you to your land and conquer it, for we too are men.

_Cherokee Chief, 1543_

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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 space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that, "thought comes before speech."

_Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux Chief_

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"Today, what is important for us to realize that the old sacred ways are correct, and that if we do not follow them we will be lost and without a guide."

_Thomas Yellowtail, Crow_

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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, Oglala Sioux Holy Man_

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"The death of fear is in dong what you fear to do."

_Sequichie Comingdeer_

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"In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night, when the streets of your cities and villages are silent, and you think them deserted, they will thong with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people. For the dead are not powerless.

Dead, did I say? There is no death. Only change of worlds."
_Chief Seattle, 1853_

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The Great Spirit is displeased with you for accepting the ways of the white people. You can see for yourselves, your hunting is gone and you are planting the corn of the white men...You yourselves can see that the white people are entirely different beings from us; we are made from Red Clay.

_Tsali, Cherokee Medicine Man_

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I am in your power. Do with me what you please. I have done the white people all the harm I could; I have fought them, and fought them bravely: If I had an army, I would yet fight... but I have none; my people are all gone. I can now do no more than weep over the misfortunes of my nation.

_Lumhe Chati, Creek Chief_

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"The Great Spirit does right. He knows what is best for his children. We are satisfied. Brother we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own."

_Chief Red Jacket - 1805_

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The earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was... The country was made without lines of demarcation, and it is no man's business to divide it..."

_Chief Joseph, Nez Perce_

 

 

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

_Robert Higheagle, Teton Sioux_

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"The earth is mother to all people. and all people should have equal rights upon it."

_Chief Joseph, 1879_

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The trees are the elders of the Earth. Go to the forest or the mountains and find a young tree. Then find and old tree. Spend time with each. Sit by the young tree and listen to your thoughts. Then move to an old tree and listen to your thoughts again. Just being in the presence of an old tree, you will feel more calm. Your thoughts will contain wisdom and your answers will be deeper. Why is this so? These trees know more, have heard more and are Elders of the Earth. We must ensure these trees live so we can learn from them.

My Creator, help me to protect the trees and to listen to them.

"It is not through the great skill of the hunter that success is achieved, but through the hunter's awareness of his place in Creation and his relationship to all things."

_Thomas Yellowtail, Crow_

 

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Englishmen, although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us. We are not your slaves. These lakes, woods and mountains were left us by our ancestors. We will part with them to no one.

_Pontiac, Ottawa_

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Every part of all this soil is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley...has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.

_Chief Seattle_

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

_Mourning Dove, Salish_

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"It is in the darkness of men's eyes that they get lost.

_Black Elk. late 1800's_

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There is a relationship between thought and reality. Every thought is alive, and as soon as you think it a result occurs immediately.

However, to make something happen it may take a series of 1,000 thoughts before you can actually see it with your eyes. This occurs because the Laws of the Great Spirit act immediately.

When you lie, you immediately experience fear. When you tell the truth, you immediately experience freedom. To the Creator, there is no time. For us to experience the meaning of this requires us to act on faith. Faith is belief without evidence.

Great Spirit, today, let me act on my faith.

 

 

 

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"When the Indian has forgotten the music of his forefathers, when the sound of the

tom-tom is no more, when the memory of his heroes is no longer told in story... he will be dead. When from him has been taken all that is his, all that he has visioned in nature, all that has come to him from infinite sources, he then, truly will be a dead Indian."

Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux_

 

 

 

 

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"If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace... Treat all men alike. give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief.

they are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all the people, and all people should have equal rights upon it... Let me be a free man. free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade... free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty."
_Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph), Nez Perce_

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"The white people who are trying to makes us over into their image, they want us to be what they call assimilated, bringing the Indians into the mainstream and destroying our own way of life and our own cultural patterns. They believe we should be contented like those whose concept of happiness is materialistic and greedy, which is very different from our way. We want freedom from the white man rather than to be integrated, in our ways, to be able to hunt, fish, and live in peace. We don't want power, we don't want to be congressmen, or bankers, we want to be ourselves. We want to have our heritage, because we are the owners of this land and because we belong here. The white man says there is freedom and justice for all. We have had 'freedom and justice,' and that is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this."

_1927 Grand Council of American Indians_

 

 

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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 imminent danger is an oncoming battle, or a sickness or injury at times of peace.

_Wooden Leg, Cheyenne_

 

 

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It is the general belief of the Indians that after a man dies his spirit is somewhere on the earth or in the sky, we do not know exactly where, but we are sure that his spirit still lives... So with Wakana Takna. We believe that he is everywhere, yet he is to us as the spirits of our friends, whose voices we can not hear.

_Chased-By-Bears, Sioux_

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"We are going by you without fighting if you will let us, but we are going by you anyhow!"
_Chief Joseph A Warning To The defenders Of Fort Fizzle In Montana_

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"Good words do not last long unless they amount to something."

_Chief Joseph, 1879_

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"A great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."

_Crazy Horse_

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You always work as group, not somebody just singled out... There is no such thing as that with the Apache. We say, "I walk with you," not "I walk before you," or "I walk behind you"... You are not a leader, you are a part.

_Phillip Cassadore, Apache_

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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 tribes may be His children, and as we shake hands today upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace.

_Red Cloud, Sioux Chief_

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"I have carried a heavy load on my back ever since I was a boy.

I realized then that we could not hold our own with the white men.

We were like deer.

They were like grizzly bears.

We had small country.

Their country was large.

We were contented to let things remain as the Great Spirit Chief made them.

They were not, and would change the rivers and mountains if they did not suit them.

I am tried of fighting from where the snow stands, I will fight no more.

Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers.

These laws were good.

They told us to treat all people as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that is was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take from another his wife or his property without paying for them.

We were contented to let thing remain as the Great Spirit made them.

Suppose a white man came to me and said,"Joseph I like your horses.

I want to but them. I say to him, "No my horses suit me; I will not sell them."

Then he goes to my neighbor and says, "Pay me money, and I will sell you Joseph ' s horses."

The white man returns to me and says, "Joseph, I have bought your horses and you must let me have them."

If we sold our lands to the government, this is the way they would by them.

I am not a child, I think for myself.

No man can think for me.

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace.

Treat all men alike.

Give them a chance to live and grow.

All men were made brothers.

The earth is the mother of all the people. and all the people should have equal rights upon it,

You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born free should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.

If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect him to grow fat?

If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper.

The earth and myself are of one mind.

We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts;

If he has been a good man' he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home.

This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

Good words do not last long unless they amount to something.

Words do not pay for my dead people.

They do not pay for my country, now overrun by white men.

They do not protect my father's grave.

they do not pay for all my horses and cattle.

Good words cannot give me back my children.

Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying.

Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves.

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing, it makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises.

There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk.

It does not require many words to speak the truth.

We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God, as the Catholics and the Protestants do.

We do not want that.

We may quarrel with men about things on earth, but we never quarrel about the Great Spirit.

I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.

I will tell you in my way how the Indian sees things.

The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but he does not require many words to seek the truth.

Too many misunderstandings have been made, too many misunderstandings.

The Great Spirit Chief who rules above all will smile upon this land and this time the Indian race is waiting and praying.

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing."

_Chief Joseph_

 

 

 



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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 Indians' 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, Teton Sioux Medicine Man_

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I have a little boy...If he is not dead, tell him the last words of his father were that he must never go beyond the Father of Waters, but die in the land of his birth. It is sweet to die in one's native land and be buried by the margins of one's native stream.

_ Tsali, Cherokee Medicine Man awaiting execution, 1838_

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I was born on 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, where everything drew a free breath... I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grand and the Arkansas. I have hunted over that country. I live like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.

_Ten Bears, Comanche Chief_

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"We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves... The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go un-imagined."

_N. Scott Momaday_

 

 

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If only the human beings could understand the power of proper relationships, the need for power and control could be abandoned. It's not what is going on that matters, but how we look at what is going on. it's our relationship to it that counts.Nothing in the world has any meaning except the meaning we give it. To be more effective at this, we need to consider our relationship with the Creator. Our relationship to the Great Spirit determines how we will perceive the meanings we put to places, people, institutions and things. We need to let the Creator tell us and guide our thoughts about these relationships. Any relationship that we have that are causing problems means we need to pray for a new point of view.

Creator, let me see the world and the people through your eyes.

"IN THE BEGINNNING were the Instructions... The Instructions were to live in a good way and be respectful to everybody and everything."
_Vickie Downey, Tesuque Pueblo

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"I have Indian Blood in me. I have enough white blood for you to question my honesty!"

_Will Rogers_

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An American Indian elder describe his own inner struggles this way: "Inside of me there are two dogs,

One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time."
When asked which dog wins, he reflected a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."

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"The White man says, there is freedom and justice for all. We have had 'freedom and justice', and that is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this."

_From The 1927 Grand Council Of American Indians_

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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 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 Katicina in the plaza with my ancestors...

_Don Talayesva, Hopi Sun Clan chief_

 

 

 

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They made us many promises, more than I can remember. but they kept one; they promised to take our land, and they did.

_ Mahpiua Luta (Red Cloud), Oglala Lakota_

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"knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and it's books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us. the storms and blessings of the earth. We learn to do what only a student of nature ever learns, and that is to feel beauty. We never rail at the storms, the furious winds, the biting frosts and the snows. To do so intensifies human futility, so whatever comes we should adjust ourselves by more effort and energy if necessary. but without complaint. Bright days and dark days are both expressions of the great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being the great Holiness,"

_Chief Luther Standing Bear_

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"Grown men can learn from very small children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss."

_Black Elk_

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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 hawks swoops down on it's 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, Oglala Sioux Holy Man_

 

 

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Lightning is good. When lightning strikes a tree, people sat the tree has been blessed and go to gather that wood for special purposes.

_Delmar Boni, Apache_

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Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.

_Native American Proverb_

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When 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.

_Speckled Snake, Creek_

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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 it's spiritual song for the child to memorize and use when calling upon the spirit guardian as an adult.

_Mourning Dove, Salish_

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"I love this land and the buffalo and will not part with it.

I want you to understand well what I say.

Write it on paper... I hear a great deal of good talk from gentlemen the Great Father sends us, but they never do what they say.

I don't want any of the medicine lodges (schools or churches) within the country. I want the children raised as I was. I have heard you intend to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don't want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies.

There I feel free and happy, but when we settle down we grow pale and die.

A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers, but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers on its banks. These soldiers cut down my timber, they kill my buffalo and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting."

_Santana, Kiowa Chief_



 

 

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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 good characteristics of each, and then offered his congratulations to them for a happy future.

_Mourning Dove, Salish_

 

 

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These are the words that were given to my great grandfather by the Master Of Life:

"At some time there shall come among you a stranger, speaking a language you do not understand. He will try to buy the land from you, but do not sell it; keep it for an inheritance to your children.

_Aseenewub, Red Lake Ojibwa_

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints."

_Chief Seattle_

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My reason tells me that land cannot be sold, nothing can be sold but such things as can be carried away.

_Black Hawk_

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"If you live on the land, and you have ancestors sleeping in this land, I believe that makes you a native to this land. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. I was not raised to look at people racially. What I was taught is that we're flowers in the Great Spirits' garden. We share a common root, and the root is Mother Earth."

_Oh Shinnah_

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We never had a thought of exchanging our land for any other... fearing the consequences may be similar to transplanting an old tree, which would wither

and die away.

_Levi Colbert, Chickasaw_

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We Had no churches, no religious organization, no sabbath days, no holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe assembled and sang and prayed; sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had few words but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in such words, as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Usen . Our services were short.

_Geronimo, Apache_

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"No one ever loses from giving."

_Cree Expression_

 

 

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"Not for the money, not for the money. But so our people can once again find out who they are. And that it's something to be proud of, and we will have our identity back; our children will know who they are."

 

 

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Our religion is not one of paint and feathers; it is a thing of the heart.

_Seneca_

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A warrior who had more than he needed would make a feast. He went around and invited the old and the 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 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, Oglala Sioux Holy Man_

 

 

 

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A long time ago the Creator gave to the people all knowledge on how we should live and conduct ourselves. The Native people have been influenced by outside "tribes" who don't know about the Sacred Way. Our elders still know about the old sacred ways. We need to consult and talk to them before it's too late.

Every family needs to seriously evaluate whether they are living according to the old knowledge.

If we are faultfinding, putting one another down, being selfish, being violent to our spouses or children, if we are cheating and being dishonest, then we are not living the old Sacred Way. The old way is about respect, love, forgiveness and sharing.

Great Spirit, today, teach me the old Sacred Way you taught my ancestors.

"We need to save those Elders who cannot speak for themselves-- the trees."

_Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders_

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The old teaching was that it is wrong to tear loose from it's place on earth anything that maybe growing there. It may be cut off, but it should not be uprooted. The trees and the grass have spirits. Whenever 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, Cheyenne_

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One does not sell the land upon which people walk.

_Tashanka Witko (Chief Crazy Horse), Ogala_

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"The only thing necessary that every child grows up happy."

_Dan George_

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The Great Spirit is in all things; he is in the air we breath. 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.

_Big Thunder, Algonquin_

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"We know our lands have become more valuable. The white people think we do not know their value; but we know that the land is everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it are soon worn out and gone."

_Canassatego_

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"A wee child toddling in a wonder world, I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural garden 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."

_Zikaka-Sa_

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Each People or nation, was given Original Instructions for the path they're supposed to follow in this life. "Unless they find that Path and folow it, their life will be empty and meaningless."

_Matthew King, Chief Noble Red Man, Lakota Sioux_

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"Peace and happiness are available in every moment. Peace is every step. We shall walk hand in hand. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems. Remember: If the Creator put it there, it is in the right place. The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

Tell your people, that since we were promised we should never be moved, we have been moved five times."
An Indian Chief, In 1876

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"My Father, you have made promises to me and my children. If the promises had been made by a person of no standing, I should not be surprised to see his promises fail. But you, who are so great in riches and power; I am astonished that I do not see your promises fulfilled! I would have been better pleased if you had never made such promises than that you should have made them and not performed them..."

_Shinguaconse (Little Pine)_


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"We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees."

_Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation_

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"If today I had a young mind to direct, to start the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the... present way of civilization, I would, for it's welfare, unhesitatingly set that child's feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!" "We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit."

_Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker_


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"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.

Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."

_Cherokee Expression_

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The Great Spirit does right. he knows what is best for his children. We are satisfied. Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you. we only want to enjoy our own."

_Chief Red Jacket, 1805_

 

 

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"An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward. He loves a straight tongue, but hates a forked tongue."

_Chief Joseph, 1879_

 

 

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"Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood, only then is there a possibility of 'Balance and harmony' the goal of Indian Spirituality"
_Dave Chief, Grandfather of Red Dog_

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Man has responsibility, not power.

_Tuscarora Proverb_

 

 

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"Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there."

_William Commanda1991_

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" We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."

_Sacred Ritual Chant_

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Do you know or can you believe that sometimes the idea obtrudes... whether it has been well that I have sought civilization with it's 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 beast of the field. The thought is a happy one but perhaps impracticable.

_Ely S. Parker, Seneca, Brigadier General U.S. Army_

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"When the earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors Of The Rainbow will come to save them."

_Chief Seattle_

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"We are what we imagine. Our very existence consist in our imagination of ourselves... the greatest tragedy to befall us is to go un imagined."

_Scott Momaday_

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You have guns, and so have we. You have powder and lead, and so have we. You have men, and so have we. Your men will fight and so will ours, till the last drop of the Seminole blood has moistened the dust of his hunting ground.

_Osceola, Seminole Chief, 1836_

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"There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our common destiny as one with our Mother the earth. It is this sharing that must be considered with great care by the Elders and our medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm may come to the people through ignorance and misuse of these powerful forces."
_Resolution of the Fifth Annual Meetings of the Traditional Elders Circle, 1980_

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"When sickness and misfortunes beset your path, try to sing."
_Cree Expression_

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If the Great Spirit sent the smallpox into our country to destroy us, it was to punish us for listening to the false promises of white men. It is a white man's disease, and no doubt it was sent amongst white people to punish them for their sins.

_New-mon-ya, Paxoche_

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"The Great Spirit Chief who rules above all will smile upon this land. and this time the Indian will be waiting and praying."

_Chief Joseph_

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Soon there will come from the rising sun a different kind of man from any you have yet see.

_Spokane Prophecy_

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"When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything... the white people pay no attention... How can the spirit of the earth like the White man?... everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore."

_Wintu Woman, 19th. Century_

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These stories were the libraries of our people. In each story, there was recorded some event of interest or importance...A people enrich their minds who keep their history on the leaves of memory.

_Luther Standing Bear, Lakota_

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Often in summer I rise at daybreak and steal out to the cornfields; and as I hoe the corn I sing to it, as we did when I was young. Sometimes at evening I sit, looking out on the big Missouri. In the shadows I seem again to see our Indian village, with smoke curling upward from the lodges.

_Buffalo Bird Woman, Hidasta_

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"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_

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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 too vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men."
_Geronimo, Chiracahua Apache Chief_

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Why not teach school children more wholesome proverbs and legends of our people? That we killed game only for food, not for fun... Tell your children of the friendly acts of the Indians to the white people who first settled here. Tell them of our leaders and heros and their deeds... Put in your history books the Indian's part in the World War.

Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people who treated him unjustly. We ask this, Chief, to keep sacred the memory of our people.

_Grand Council Fire Of American Indians to the Mayor of Chicago, 1927_


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Now we will speak again about him, Our Creator. He decided, "Above the world I have created...I will continue to look intently and to listen intently to the earth, when people direct their voices at me." Let there be gratitude day and night for the happiness he has given us. He loves us, he who in the sky dwells. He gave us the means to set right that which divides us.

_Iroquois Thanksgiving Song_

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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 the stars and the sun and the moon should man learn... all things tell of Tirawa.

_Eagle Chief, Pawnee_

 

 
 

 

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"(The Circle) will not be mended as long as the people war among themselves. it will not be mended as long as we try to mend the Sacred Circle with broken Circles. We all need to pray on this..."

_Gary Armstrong_

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The Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was... The country was made without lines of demarcation and it is no mans' business to divide it... I see the white all over the country gaining wealth and see their desire to give us lands which are worthless. The earth and myself are of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same. Say it to us if you can say it. that you were sent by Creative Power to talk to us. Perhaps you think the creator sent you here to destroy us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the creator I might be induced to think you had the right to dispose of me. Do not misunderstand me, but understand me fully with reference to my affection to the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I chose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who has created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you privilege to live on yours.

_ Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph), Nez Perce_

 
 
 

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"The Great Spirit raised both the white man and Indian. I think he raised the Indian first. He raised me in this land, it belongs to me. The white man was raised over the great waters, and his land is over there. Since they crossed the sea, I have given them room. There are now white people all about me. I have but a small spot of land left. The Great Spirit told me to keep it."

_ Mahpiua Luta (Red Cloud), Oglala Lakota_

 

 

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The Sacred Hoop...

The sacred Hoop Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all.

And the ground beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I

stood there I saw more then I can tell And understood more then I saw. For I was seeing in the sacred manner, the shape of all things of spirit. And the shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of man hoops that make one circle, wide as daylight and starlight, And in the center grew on mighty flowering tree, To shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

_Black Elk, Ojibwa Elder_

 

 

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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.

Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves, All things are bound together,

All things connect.

_Chief Seattle_

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"We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. But you have come here, you are taking my land from me. you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live. Now you tell us to work for a living, but The Great Spirit did not make us to work. but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our father did, and their fathers before them"

_Chief Crazy Horse_

 

 


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"There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled, which leads to an unknown secret place. The old people came literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. Their tepees were built upon the earth and their alters made of earth. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from it's life giving forces. For him to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him."

_Chief Luther Standing Bear_
 
 
 

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There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He had made the bear and the beaver. Their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country , and taught us how to take them., he had caused the earth to produce corn for bread.

_Red Jacket, Seneca_

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"We are taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything. and that he never forgets that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts... This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

_Chief Joseph, Nez Perce_

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"When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home."

_Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725_

 

 

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I am tired of fighting, our chiefs are all killed, the old men are all dead, the little children are freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children see how many of them I can find, maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me my chiefs, I am tired, my heart is sick and sad from where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.

_Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph), Nez Perce_

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When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you Caunotaucarius, the Town Destroyer; and to this day when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling to the knees of their mothers. Our councillors and warriors are men and cannot be afraid; but their hearts are grieved with the fears of their women and children, and desire that it may be buried so deep as to be heard no more. When you gave us peace, we called you father, because you promised to secure us in possession of our lands. Do this, and so long as the lands shall remain, the beloved name will remain in the heart of every Seneca.

_Cornplanter, Seneca to George Washington, 1790_

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"We will be known by the tracks we leave behind."

_Dakota Proverb_

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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.

_Chief Joseph, Nez Perce_

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Trouble no more about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.

_Chief Tecumseh_

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"All things in the world are two. In our mind 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 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 in two, all two."

_Eagle Chief, Pawnee_

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"Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking."

_Black Elk_

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We belong to the Earth, this we know. The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. This we know.

All things connected like blood, which unites one family. All this are connected.

Whatever befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth.

we did not weave the web of life; We were merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to ourselves.

_Chief Noah Sealth_


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We want no white person or persons here. The Black Hills belong to me. If the whites try to take them, I will fight.

_Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull), Lakota_

 

 

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I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age. I can still see the butchered women and children lying scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud and was buried in the blizzard. A peoples dream died there. It was a beautiful dream... the nations hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer and the sacred tree is dead.

_Black Elk, Lakota_

 

 

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"When we walk upon Mother earth, we always plant out feet carefully because we know the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from beneath the ground. We never forget them."

_Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation_

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Where no one intrudes, many can live in harmony.

_Chief Dan George_

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Whiskey is a great and monstrous evil and has reared a high mound of bones. So now all must say "I will use it nevermore."

_Handsome Lake, Seneca_

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They could not capture me except for a white flag. They cannot hold me except with a chain.

_Osceola, Seminole Chief, 1838_

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The Whites are already nearly a match for us all united, and too strong for any one tribe alone to resist. Unless we support one another with our collective forces, they will soon conquer us, and we will be driven away from our native country and scattered as leaves before the wind.

_Tecumseh, Shawnee_

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Whose voice was first sounded on this land? The voice of the red people who had but bows and arrows... What has been done in my country I did not want, did not ask for it; white people going through my country... When the white man comes in my country he leaves a trail of blood behind him... I have two mountains in that country... The Black Hills and The Big Horn Mountain. I want great father to make roads through them. I have told these things three times; now I have come here to tell them the fourth time.

_Mahpiua Luta (Red Cloud), Oglala Lakota_

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With a prayer in my mouth I dashed unarmed through a line of soldiers my clothes were cut to pieces my horse was wounded but I was not hurt, as I reached the door of my lodge my wife handed me my rifle saying "here's your gun... fight."

_Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph), Nez Perce_

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"Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt it, seeing that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I am willing to treat him as a brother. As for your pope of whom you speak, he must be mad to speak of giving away countries that do not belong to him, As for my faith, I will not change it. Your God, as you tell me, was put to death by the very men He created. But my God still looks down on His children."

_Atahualpa, Inca Chief (On hearing Pope Alexander VI had declared Peru to be possession of Spain._


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                                    Oh Great Spirit:
                Whose voice I hear in the winds,
           And whose breath gives life to all the world,
           hear me, I am small and weak. I need your
                        strength and wisdom.
               Let me walk in beauty and make me eyes
                   ever behold the red and purple sunset.
                Make my hands respect the things I have
           made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
                Make me wise so that I may understand
            the things you have taught my people.
                Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
                            in every leaf and rock.
             I seek strength, not to be stronger then my
           brother, but to fight my greatest
                            enemy-myslf.
             Make me always ready to come to you with
                     clean hands and straight eyes,
            So when life fades, as the fading sunset.
              My spirit may come to you without shame.
 
 
                             -A Sioux Indian Prayer-
        

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                  Oh Great Spirit:
                         Oh Great Spirit let your voice
whisper righteousness in our ears through the
East Wind, at the break of day.
                          Let us be blessed with love for
all of our brothers and sisters on the Earth, so we may truly live in peace.
                          Let us have good health, mentally
and physically, to solve our problems. and accomplish some thing for furture generations.
                          Let us be sincere to ourselves and
make the world a better place to live.
                           Aho Mitakuy e oyasin All Of My
Relations.
- A Native American Prayer-

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When you arise in the morning, give thanks

for the morning light, for your life and strength,

Give thanks for your food, and joy in living.

If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

- A Native American Prayer-

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But when the sun in all his state warmed the Eastren skies,
She passed through glory's morning gate, and walked in paradise.
- James Aldrich-

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