WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES

 




“The biggest issue for native people across the board is the fact that most Americans know very little about native people. Without any historical knowledge -- or cultural context -- it's impossible to understand our issues.”
Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee
"Our language holds those key pieces that makes us strong as a tribe ... who we are as Arapaho." Iva Redman, Arapaho

**“In the old days, everyone who was born had a purpose, but that belief had faded away some over the years.  Now we are working with our kids to re-instill that mind set. We want our future to remain strong and to continue to move forward ..."
Jennifer Porter, Kootenai

"Certainly those of us in the history business believe in the freedom history, that it is the right of people in our communities to know that history so they can learn from it and also think about how it influences their future behavior."
Janet Gallimore, Idaho Historical Society

**"Teachers want to do craft activities.  That's what's out there in the commercial sites - tag-board tepees, paper-bag vests, anything with feathers on it. That isn't a meaningful alternative.” 
Julie Cajune, Salish

"The major reason Native students drop out is they are bored.  There's a disconnect between what they bring to school of their language and culture and what's being taught at school."
Willard Gilbert, Hopi

**"We want to be able to teach these ceremonies to our youths so they continue with them because, if we don't, little by little they will fade away."
Gov. Carlos Hisa, Tigua

**"What we had was so rich. It was beyond adequate. All the times I'd sat with elders and heard them talking about so many fish in the rivers you could walk across on their backs. There was such an abundance of resources, and their knowledge was so deep. We were self-sufficient in such a powerful and magnificent way." Julie Cajune, Salish

**"From the time Europeans colonized America, the policy has gone from genocide to assimilation. It's remarkable Indian people have persisted with their languages and culture. Five hundred years later, Indians are still Indians.”
Julie Cajune, Salish

"The Plains Indians had a remarkable record of nutritional and health success, despite the enormous pressures they were under.  They developed a healthy lifestyle that the white Americans couldn't match, even with all of their technological advantages."  Richard Steckel

"Today Native American communities offer plenty of known and unknown talent. How can we accept that [while] Filipinos and other ethnic groups, talented or not, are being packaged and sold to us as the redefined and new and improved Native American image?  What about the social responsibility ...casting ... will once more have in terms of its power to re-identify and redefine an entire culture within the public eye?  Hollywood is not trusting native peoples to portray themselves once again. It's like we're being ethnically cleansed from mainstream films." 
Lydia Ponce

"Every event is always exciting, whether it be a prestigious University or an event for children, they are all equally important."
Drew Lacapa, Apache/Hopi/Tewa

**"I love a people who always made me welcome to the best they had . . . who are honest without laws, who have no jails and no poor-house . . . who never take the name of God in vain . . . who worship God without a Bible, and I believe that God loves them also . . . who are free from religious animosities . . . who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there was no law to punish either . . . who never fought a battle with white men except on their own ground . . . and oh! how I love a people who don't live for the love of money."
George Catlin.

" Love is something we must have. We must have it because our spirits feed upon it." CHIEF DAN GEORGE, SALISH

“[The storytelling from my youth] was like pages in my brain. It was like pictures flashing in my brain They would make things come alive – a song, a beat.”
Cliff SiJohn, Couer d'Olene 

**"Don’t make fun of people. People come in different sizes and shapes, but you should treat everyone the same. They just might be smarter than you are."
Cliff SiJohn, Couer d'Olene

"The environment is everybody. It's not strictly tribal."
Jesse Urbanic, Lummi

"Put something in your mouth that's good for you before you say something that's not."
Dovie Thomason, Kiowa, Apache, Lakota

"[Americans are] strangers we invited for dinner 500 years ago that are still here."
Dovie Thomason, Kiowa, Apache, Lakota


**"To make a difference for yourself and the planet, you don’t have to wake up tomorrow and do everything differently."
Kristen Freeman, Hoopa

“You stay here. I am going ahead.”
Ishi, Yahi, before his death.

**“For many years the government policy was to assimilate native people into mainstream society and essentially stamp out [our culture].  It’s a testament to the tenacity of our people that we have any native cultures or religions left in the United States. We are seeing a remarkable cultural renaissance in the tribal communities."
Walter Echohawk

**"Modern civilization has no understanding of sacred matters. Everything is backwards."
--Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

“If I had known that Andrew Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at Horseshoe Bend.” 
Junaluska, Cherokee

"It's in our elders we find our anchor. If it weren't for them we'd leave our culture."
Dave Matheson, Couer d'Alene

 


Words from the Circle p. 22
Words from the Circle p.24

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