"The Elders Speak"
It is the flash of a firefly in the night,
the breath of a buffalo in the winter.
It is the little shadow, which runs across
the grass, and loses itself in
""You have noticed that everything an Indian does
is in a circle. 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 all the stars. The
wind in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their
nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours.
Even the seasons form a great 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
"Creator gave you two ears....
and one mouth....
So you can listen,
twice as much,
as you speak.
Two Hawks' Grandfather
"You have driven me from the east
to this place, and I have been here
two thousand years or more....
My friends, if you took me away
from this land it would be very hard
for me. I wish to die in this land.
I wish to be an old man here....
I have not wished to give even a part
of it to the Great Father.
Though he were to give me a million dollars,
I would NOT give him this land...."
"We do not want schools....
they will teach us to have churches.
We do not want churches....
they will teach us to quarrel about God.
We do not want to learn that.
We may quarrel with men sometimes
about things on this earth,
but we never quarrel about God.
We do not want to learn that."
Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph)
Nez Perce Leader
"I am the spirit's janitor.... All I do is wipe the
windows a bit, so you can see
out for yourself."
-- Godfrey Chips
Lakota Medicine Man
"The world of my childhood
was filled with wonder and magic.
Enchantment was the order of the day.
Mechanistic science has no place
for enchantment. If it can't be
measured, it doesn't exist.
The problem is, the important things
cannot be measured...."
Anne Wilson Schaef (Cherokee)
Oh Great Spirit, who made all races,
look kindly upon the whole human
family and take away the arrogance
and hatred which separates us
from our brothers....
A good heart and a good mind- these are
what you need to be a chief.
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 the privilege to live on yours.
-Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief
Joseph), Nez Perce
Respect means by Dave Chief
"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
"... 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."
-- Morning Dove
(Christine Quintasket) Salish
"We only ask an even chance to
live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. Let me be a free man.
Free to travel, free to stop. Free to work. Free to choose my own teachers. Free
to follow the religion of my fathers. Free to think and talk and act for
- Chief Joseph
I heard of your coming when I
was many sleeps away I knew that you had come to do good to me and my people. I
looked for the benefits which would last forever, and so my face shines with joy
as I look upon you.
My people have never first
drawn a bow or fired a gun against the whites. It was you who sent out the first
soldier, and it was we who sent out the second. . The blue dressed soldiers and
the Utes came from out of the night when it was dark and still, and for
campfires, they lit our lodges. Instead of hunting game, they killed my braves
and the warriors of the tribe cut short their hair for the dead.
The Comanches are not weak and
blind like the pups of a dog when seven sleeps old. They are strong and
farsighted like grown horses. We took their road and went on it. The white women
cried, and our women laughed.
But there are things which you
have said to me which I did not like. They were not sweet like sugar, but bitter
like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us on a reservation, to build us
houses and to make us Medicine Lodges. I do not want them.
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 free breath.
I want to die there, and not within walls. I know every stream and every wood
between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over the
country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them I lived happily.
Do not ask us to give up the
buffalo for the sheep. The young men have heard talk of this, and it has made
them sad and angry. Do not speak of it no more. The white man has the country we
loved and we only wish to wander on the prairie until we die.
Any good thing you say to me
shall not be forgotten. I shall carry it as near to my heart as my children, and
it shall be as often on my tongue as the name of the Great Spirit.
I want no blood upon my land to
stain the grass. I want it all clear and pure, and I wish it so, that all who go
through among my people may find peace when they come in, and leave it when they
- Ten Bears of the Yapparika
"Teach your children what we
have taught our children that the earth is our mother. What ever befalls the
earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. This we know. The earth does
not belong to us. We belong to the earth. This we know. All things are
connected-like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. What
ever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not
weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web,
We do to ourselves".
The Creator gathered all of
creation and said, 'I want to hide something from the humans until they are
ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality.' The
eagle said, 'Give it to me, I will take it to the moon.' The Creator said, 'No
one day they will go there and find it.' The salmon said, 'I will hide it on the
bottom of the ocean.' 'No, they will go there too.' The buffalo said, 'I will
bury it on the great plains.' The Creator said, 'They will cut into the skin of
the earth and find it.' Then Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother
Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said: 'Put it
inside them.' And the Creator said, 'It is done.'
- Sioux Legend
"I stand before you as a proud
man; I feel no guilt! I have done nothing to feel guilty about! I have no
regrets of being a Native American activist - thousands of people in the United
States, Canada, and around the world have and will continue to support me to
expose the injustices which have occurred in this courtroom. I do feel pity for
your people that they must live under such as ugly system. Under your system,
you are taught greed, racism, and corruption - and most serious of all, the
destruction of Mother Earth. Under the Native American system, we are taught all
people are brothers and sisters, to share the wealth with the poor and needy.
But the most important of all is to represent and preserve the Earth, who we
consider to be our Mother."
~an excerpt from Leonard
Peltier's Statement to Judge Paul Benson (June 1, 1977)
"The ground on which we stand
is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors."
Plenty Coups, Crow
The wind that gave our
grandfathers his first breath also receives his last sigh and the wind must also
give our children the spirit of life.
Chief Seattle, Dwamish
"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 the gentlemen the
Great Father sends us, but they never do what they say. I don't want any of the
medicine lodges (schools and 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