Native Village

WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

**"Things would go well for us if we would think positively about everything." Mary Hayes, CLAOQUOT

**"...You take the most valuable asset you have [your culture] and reinforce it with the younger generation – the impacts are important economically, culturally, and spiritually." Gary Singleton

**"No one likes to be criticized, but criticism can be something like the desert wind that, in whipping the tender stalks, forces them to strike their roots down deeper for security."
Polingaysi Qoyawayma, HOPI

**“For the Odawa, winter (biboon) faces north and is a time when the elders (kikaa) of the tribe teach and tell stories so that traditions can be passed on to the youth. It is a sublime and beautiful way to honor and welcome the different seasons of the year, as well as life from birth to old age and ‘walking on.’”  Gail Hosner

**"How can you own land? In our Inuit knowledge, it's the land that owns us, it's the land that supports us, it's the land that feeds us and we have to respect it." 
Aiju Peter, Inuit

"We are forced to live in a society that is not of our own making, and which causes a lot of social problems. And we spend millions of dollars trying to address these problems."
Louis Taparjuk, Inuit

"Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things." 
Jeffrey Zaslow

"Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you."
Jeffrey Zaslow

"Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism.  Imperialism and colonialism are not something that happened decades ago 
or generations ago, but they are still happening now with the  exploitation of people ... The kind of thing that took place long ago in which people were dispossessed from their land and forced out of  subsistence economies and into market economies -- those processes are  still happening today."   John Mohawk, Seneca, 1992

"Go through with the remainder of your days treating everyone fair. That you may be treated the same. When you come to the road to the singing and dancing gourds, you will have no regret, knowing you have done your part while here."
George Webb, Akimel O'odham

"We were put here for a reason, to take care of this land. Not because it's something that maybe you say you own ... but because it belongs to the next generation."
Rex Buck Jr., Wanapum

"Knowledge is a beautiful thing, but the using of knowledge in a good way is what makes for wisdom.  Learning how to use knowledge in a sacred manner, that's wisdom to me.  And to me, that's what a true Elder is."
Sun Bear, CHIPPEWA

**"If you don't know something, ask someone who does." 
Rosa Winfree

**"...the taking of the Black Hills [from the Lakota] is the most ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealing ever perpetrated on a people by the United States government."
United States Supreme Court, 1980.

**"The elders say, 'The longest road you're going to have to walk is from here to here. From your head to your heart.'  But they also say you can't speak to the people as a leader unless you've made the return journey. From the heart back to the head.
Phil Lane, Jr.; Yankton Sioux, 1992

**"Knowledge can be learned but until it is truly experienced, it does not become wisdom."
Selo Black Crow. Lakota

**"If you want to learn about Scottish culture you go to Scotland. If you want to learn about French culture you go to France. But if you want to learn about Mohawk culture, you have to go to Mohawk territory." 
Chief Clarence Louie, Okanagan

  "What happens to the rice happens to us, and it's the same with the wolf or anything else."
Matt O'Claire, Chippewa

"Values are and always will be sacred."
Billy Mills

"The most cowardly way of quitting is hitting."
Billy Mills

**"The single difference between a warrior and a gang member is that a warrior wants to be unique, develops himself or herself from within, then belong to a group and empower it with that uniqueness. A gangster just belongs." 
Billy Mills

**“As we walk along the trail of life we carry a bowl and each experience we have is like a stone we pick up and put into the bowl.  To change all we have to do is turn the bowl upside down and then show our light there.” 
Alex Pua, Hawaiian Elder

“Everything that gives birth is female.  When men begin to understand the relationships of the universe that women have always known, the world will begin to change for the better.”
Lorraine Canoe, Mohawk

“This is what my spirit tells me – get my people together.  Get them to believe because if you don’t they are going to go wild.  They are going to kill one another. Whoever has sacred places must wake them up, the same as I am doing here – to keep my old world within my heart and with the spiritual.  For them to help me and for me to help my people.”
Flora Jones, Wintu

"In the Sun Dance when the men pierce their chests, it isn’t for themselves.  It is for the welfare of the people.  Women have a different role in the Sun Dance.  They instruct the girls and then they dance with the pipe.  There is also the sweat lodge where you can resolve a lot of things, obtain information and advice, and talk over whatever is bothering you without fear that it will be shared with others.  Whatever is said in the sweat lodge stays there."
Beatrice Medicine, Lakota

"We all need a belief system. Christianity really disrupted the kinship unit.  In the 1930s we weren’t even allowed to go to some of the traditional funerals.  Now, our people no longer go to the Christian churches, and they don’t know their own Native belief systems.  In a sense they are in spiritual limbo.” 
Beatrice Medicine, Lakota

"Sacred tobacco helps. It heals wounds. You offer it to the water, the air, the Great Spirit ... In smoking the pipe, we're offering it up to the Great Spirit." 
Rios Pacheco, Shoshone

**"... I heard a wise woman talk at a conference. She spoke of being removed from her culture, unplugged from it, disconnected and set aside like an old toaster. But she was always a toaster and the day came when someone plugged her back in and the electricity flowed. She became functional again - and the tool of her reawakening was her language."
Richard Wagamese. Ojibway

“Those that came to live with us were steeped in their own cultural world views and wanted everyone else to be like them, to the way we were educated to the way we're supposed to think.  In order to accomplish that, they sought to destroy to Native languages. You still have this tendency to want to change us, to homogenize us.  It hasn't changed.” 
Dr. Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne

**"If anyone has children, they better teach their children  to follow the traditions that we're leaving behind because it is later than we think..."  
Juanita Centeno, CHUMASH

***Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Source unknown

"When we were brought up, my grandparents, even though they didn't go to school themselves, said, 'You've got to go to school and learn different skills.' That's very important. You want to keep strong the cultural traditions and languages, but you also want the children to be able to participate in the bigger world.''  
Wayne Newell, Passamaquoddy

**"I like to inspire kids that you can set your mind to whatever you want to do, and physical handicaps are not really debilitating obstacles.  You can work with whatever the Creator has given you and make a good life.''  
Wayne Newell, Passamaquoddy and legally blind. 

“Education is very important to the Cherokee people.  For a promising future, we need to develop leaders with vision, and education is the gateway to visionary thinking."  
Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

**"We all come from the same root, but the leaves are all different."
John Fire Lame Deer, Lakota

**“We got to teach the young adults and teachers to teach the language before the elders are gone.  That's why I'm always telling everybody, ‘Hurry, I only have a few years to live.' ”
Minerva Allen, 69, Assinibone

**The ... advice I have to give you is, do not live your life safely. I would take risks and not do things just because everybody else does them. In my generation someone who had a big impact on me was Robert Kennedy, who in one speech said, 'Some people see things the way they are and ask why, and others dream things that never were and ask why not?' I think that is where I hope many of you will be – people that question why things are and why we have to do them the way we have always done them. I hope you will take some risks, exert some real leadership on issues, and if you will, dance along the edge of the roof as you continue for life." 
Wilma P. Mankiller, 1992 Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation

**"We do not want riches, but we 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."
Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota

 

 

Words from the Circle p. 17 Words from the Circle p. 19

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