Native Village

WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

"In the end I tell my children, there's no way I can tell you how to be an Acoma, how to be an Indian.  You have to experience it." Stanley Paytiamo, Acoma Pueblo

"There needs to be a sense of forgiveness so we can stop carrying this heavy burden of bitterness. We can never forget what happened there, but we can correct the years of injustice..."
Debra Drye, Hopi


"Broken promises to Indians. The cycle does repeat itself, doesn't it?"
Chief Ken Adams, Upper Mattaponi

"In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred - everything is for sale." Oren Lyons, Onondaga

The prevalence of these racist mascots is inextricably linked to the basic human rights that many Native Americans are not welcome to.  Countless native people cannot obtain loans from banks or live where they want to due to the negative stereotypes these mascots encourage." 
Lawrence Baca, Pawnee

**"Indians chase the vision,  white men chase the dollar."
John (Fire) Lame Deer, Rosebud Lakota
 
"It's having the knowledge of your culture, it's having respect for your mothers and grandmothers, it's the language, fluency. As we say, that's harmony, that's what we strive for."
Billy Luther

**"The hearts of little children are pure, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them  many things which older people miss." 
Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) Oglala Lakota

"Our Spiritual belief is that we were created as part of the land - so our identity, our names, and our songs are all tied to the land."
 Chief Roderick Robinson, NISGA'A

"A handful of tribal leaders gathered to fight assimilation and termination and now we carry on their work by promoting tribal sovereignty, strengthening our government-to-government relationships with the U.S. government, and working tirelessly so that Native people can have better lives."
Joe Garcia, President, National Congress of the American Indian

''We don't want to change who we are; we don't want to change our identity. You are all really smart indigenous people - we know the truth to who we are and we know that our land is tied to who we are, is tied to identity, is tied to our spiritual practice."
Winona LaDuke, Anishinabe

"I think a lot of Native American literature is stuck in one idea: sort of spiritual, environmentalist Indians. And I want to portray everyday lives. I think by doing that, by portraying the ordinary lives of Indians, perhaps people learn something new." 
Sherman Alexie

**"It's impossible to write about Native life without humoróthat's how people maintain sanity."  
Louise Erdrich

"It is my land, my home, my father's land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains. If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish as at present, and that our name would not become extinct." 
Geronimo

"It's important as a writer to do my art well and do it in a way that is powerful and beautiful and meaningful, so that my work regenerates the people, certainly Indian people, and the earth and the sun. And in that way we all continue forever." Joy Harjo

**"Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood.  Only then is there a possibility of balance and harmony. "
Dave Chief, Grandfather of Red Dog

"One does not sell the land people walk on." 
Crazy Horse

"The white people, who are trying to make 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. We don't want any part of the establishment, we want to be free to raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to be able to hunt and 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."
From the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians

"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.... has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth. Could it be 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 Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991

"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

"As a child I understood how to give, I have forgotten this grace since I have become civilized."
Luther Standing Bear - Oglala

**"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 beasts, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and the moon should man learn.... all things tell of Tirawa." 
Eagle Chief (Letakots-Lesa) Pawnee

"Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its 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 the student of nature ever learns, and that is to feel beauty. We never rail at the storms, the furious winds, the biting frosts and 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 close the Great Holiness."
Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Men have visions, Women have children."
Adeline Wanatee, Mesquakie, 1980

**"Our ancestors were really masters at controlling the environment, simply because they only took what they needed, they did not have to take anymore. Now, in the world that we live in, everybody is taking all they can and -- I hope I'm wrong --we're headed for a disastrous situation."
Norton Rickard, Tuscarora, 1993


"In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred -- everything is for sale."
Oren Lyons, Onondasa, 1992

"The White man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it."
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

"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."
Santanta, Kiowa, 1867

"Wars are fought to see who owns the land, but in the end it possesses man. Who dares say he owns it--is he not buried beneath it?"
Nino Cochise, Chiricahua Apache, 1971

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives."
Oral Tradition, Teton Sioux

The Eskimo asked the local missionary priest, "If I did not know about God and Sin, would I go to Hell?"  "No," said the Priest, "not if you did not know." "Then why," asked the Eskimo earnestly, "did you tell me?"
Circumpolar People's story

"Now I know the government is going to break the treaty because when it was signed it was understood that it would last as long as the grass grew, the winds blew, and the rivers ran, and men walked on two legs -- and now they have sent us an Agent who has only one leg."
Piapot (Flash In The Sky), Cree, 1895

"One must spend a considerable amount of time studying a weaving technique, its designs and the specific materials used before that person can really understand and actually "think" in that language." 
Robin McBride Scott

"By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was personally responsible for thousands of deaths of the original inhabitants of this hemisphere." 
Russell Means

**"Donít lose your sense of humor, even when the laughter is at your own expense.  Life is a learning place.  Existence is forever."
Leonard Peltier
 

Words from the Circle p. 18Words from the Circle p. 20

 

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