WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE
"The language is very powerful. It’s the most
important ingredient you have." Albert White Hat, Sinte Gleska University.
"The power and wisdom of language is what has kept our people together so that we can do meaningful things. If I can teach the little ones the language, then we keep our identity." Pat Pierre, Salish
**"Every single person has leadership ability. Some step up and take them. Some don't. My answer was to step up and lead." Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee
**"You have to learn all you can now because one day we'll be gone." Pauline Murillo, SanManuel Band of Mission Indians
"...the irreversible price for Glen Canyon dam and its power and water storage is the deterioration of the Grand Canyon." John C. Schmidt, Utah State University
"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 ... and again you say, why do you not become civilised? We do not want your civilisation! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them." -- Crazy Horse, Lakota warrior and leader.
"We used to be some of the fittest and strongest people, until we were stripped of our heritage, which is living off the land." Shelbert Chasing Crow, Cheyenne
"Iraq is simply a replay of American foreign policy towards Indians of the 1780s forward. Invade them and when they resist label them terrorists - Indians used to be "hostiles." Vine Deloria, Standing Rock Sioux
[Question by Indian Country Today:] Obviously you don’t support George W. Bush or his policies. Are you a supporting either of his opponents John Kerry or Ralph Nader? Deloria: John Kerry for sure - at least he was in a combat zone - a silver star, bronze star - these are not given lightly - Bush didn’t even get a blister opening beer cans." Vine Deloria, Standing Rock Sioux
*We need to save those Elders who cannot speak for themselves -- the trees." --Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
"Many times as Indian people, we never think we can realize our dreams. Every one of you is important to the Indian people." Dave Anderson, Ojibwa
* "Don't ever make fun of each other. Don't ever put down another Indian person. In this world, we have enough people outside to put us down. We can change that, and the change will come with you young people that are here today." Dave Anderson, Ojibwa
"In about half of the competitive Senate races, Native Americans are going to be highly courted. I think that Republicans and Democrats alike believe this is going to be a major priority." David Magleby, Brigham Young University
*"Tribal libraries now serve as the educational hub of the reservations. They're just absolutely critical." Bonnie Biggs
* "We dance for those that cannot dance. It's like a healing. "Malcolm Murphy, 12
"Our misery began when the whites invaded our land... They invaded our lands and bought them. How can land be bought and sold? We don't understand this idea. Every inch of this land is sacred to the Ayoreo." Ayoreo Indians, Paraguay
'Please do not touch the forest, because it gives us life. Please stop the bulldozers." Ayoreo Indians, Paraguay
"Standardized tests are great for standard kids. But our kids aren't standard kids. They don't live in standard American homes." Darryl Kipp
"We have to make knowledge important, make indigenous ideas and culture useful to society. We have to present it with integrity." Simon Ortiz
"Man is the architect of his own destiny; I designed mine and I have lived it." Albina Cruces Vazquez, 101
"'Losing the language means losing the culture. We need to know who we are because it makes a difference in who our children are." Dottie LeBeau,
"The Inuit are facing the beginning of a possible end of a way of life that has allowed us to thrive for millennia because of climate changes caused by global warming. It is predicted that in some 50 years, polar bears, walrus and some species of seals will be pushed to extinction. What will be left of our culture if this comes to pass?" Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit
"In Alaska, the beaches are slumping so much, people are having to move houses. In Tuktoyaktuk, the land is starting to go under water. The glaciers are melting and the permafrost is melting. There are new species of birds and fish and insects showing up. The Arctic is a barometer for the health of the world. If you want to know how healthy the world is, come to the Arctic and feel its pulse." Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit
"I want to help my people however I can. I think that’s why I’m here today working for our elders. They’re the key to our culture surviving, and have taught me so much. It’s only right that I do what I can to better their lives." Jennifer Sutherland, Gros Ventre/Ojibway
We love the Great Spirit--we acknowledge his supreme power--our peace, our health, and our happiness depend upon him." PETALESHARO PAWNEE
"Each person's prayers can help everyone." Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
"One word could have a thousand meanings. It is coming directly from the heart. When you do it in your own language there is a feeling you are conveying that is much stronger than using the English language." Muriel Scott, Hopi
"Indians living close to nature and nature's ruler are not living in darkness." --Walking Buffalo, STONEY
"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...The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing..." Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX
“We want them to have the good life that we lived in the past. We’re trying to bring traditional Inuit knowledge to the youth for the main reason that we want them to know the difference between right and wrong. The youth today don’t seem to know that anymore.” Joanasie Arreak, Inuit
“[Elders] are being lost in the modern world. They are worried about the future of youth and where they’re going...” Joanasie Arreak, Inuit
"(American Indians) are victims of change. We must be architects of our destiny rather than victims of change." Dave Anderson, Choctaw, Chippewa
**"Find something you love to do and be passionate about it." Dave Anderson, Choctaw, Chippewa
*"We need you as leaders, as sober people that are clear in mind, clear in spirit and in heart." Dave Anderson, Choctaw, Chippewa
“We don’t just want our kids to pass tests, we want them to become caring and responsible adults.” Dr. Aluli Meyer, Hawaiian Native.
Don't undermine yourself. And make sure your essence touches everybody." Leandra Bitsie
"Right now, we have to fight to maintain our traditions. The world won't be the same for our children and grandchildren, so we have to hold on to what we have as long as we can." Kuiussi, chief of the Suya Indians.
"One of the things the old people taught me about the spirits was to never have a doubt."
--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
* "People around the world have said this education is a difficult task. You have accomplished it, and you have made an achievement. Now, take this new knowledge and do good things for society." Dakota honor song
* "Humility is probably the most difficult virtue to realize." --Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
Words from the Circle p.10 Words from the Circle p.12
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