WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES


"...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


"In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family."
Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders

"It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth... The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing." 

Ota Kte/Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota


**"The Natural Law is a spiritual law. Its powers are both light and dark."
Oren R. Lyons, Turtle Clan Seneca

**"That is not our way, to set yourself apart and talk about who you are and what you've done. You let your life speak for you."
Tom Porter, Mohawk

"It's time Indians tell the world what we know... about nature and about God. So I'm going to tell you what I know and who I am. You guys better listen. You have a lot to learn.
Mathew King, Lakota

**"A bit of sunshine, a drop of rain, a puff of life from the Great Spirit as He gently breathed upon that spot, created the Native Americans. They were well formed and agile, copper colored and proud.
Harriet Starleaf Gumbs, Shinnecock

"Telling about our lives is important for those who come after as, for those who will see our experience as part of their own historical struggle."
Linda Hogan, Chickasaw

Look behind you. See your sons and your daughters. They are your future. Look farther and see your sons' and your daughters' children and their children's children even unto the Seventh Generation. That's the way we were taught. Think about it: you yourself are a Seventh Generation."
Leon Shenandoah, Onondaga

**"You want to know who's a real medicine man? He's the one who doesn't say 'I'm a medicine man.' He doesn't ask you to come to him. You've got to go and ask him. And you'll find he's always there among his own people."
Louis Farmer, Onondaga

"These are our times and our responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes. In order to do this, we must recognize the enemy - the one within us. We must begin with ourselves..."
Leon Shenandoah, Onondaga

**"We want to give those young people and young Native Americans like them the support they deserve. We have to invest in them, and believe in them, and love them. And if we do, theres no question of the great things they can achieve -- not just for their own families, but for their nation and for the United States." 
President Obama, White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 3, 2014

My father was a basketball player, so I loved basketball because he did. It was a direct transference. But, more than that, basketball, in the United States at least, plays the same function that soccer does everyone else in the world. Its the sport of poverty. Its the sport born of poverty. Its the cheapest sport.
 
Sherman Alexie, Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Colville-Choctaw

"Words hypnotize and deceive everyone at one time or another, but these hypnotic words cannot last long in the hearts of true warriors."
Barney Bush, Shawnee

**"We are called hollow bones for our people and for anyone else we can help, and we are not supposed to seek power for our personal use and honor."
Fools Crow, LAKOTA

**"When attempting to honor another culture, it is important to consider what that culture considers to be an honor, and what causes offense."
Maulian Smith Penobscot Nation

"Yet, hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path."
Chief Sitting Bull, speaking at the Powder River Conference, 1877

"If I get cancer then I'm gonna name my first four tumors Custer, Andrew Jackson, Dick Cheney & Black Licorice."
Sherman Alexie

Am
erican Indians share a history rich in diversity, integrity, culture, and tradition.  It is also rich in tragedy, deceit, and genocide.  As the world learns of these atrocities and cries out for justice for all people everywhere, no human being should ever have to fear for his or her life because of their political or religious beliefs.  We are in this together, my friends, the rich, the poor, the red, white, black, brown, and yellow.  We share responsibility for Mother Earth and those who live and breathe upon her.  Never forget that.
LEONARD PELTIER, Lakota Sioux

"Each day, whatever I am doing, I am
always praying and thinking of God."
-Thomas Yellowtail, Crow

"When folks tell me I'm arrogant, it means "You have too many opinions for an Indian." Also, I am arrogant."

Sherman Alexie,
Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Colville-Choctaw

"That is not our way, to set yourself apart and talk about who you are and what you've done. You let your life speak for you."
Tom Porter, Mohawk

**"The power of our success is that we never give up." 

Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee


"All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song."
Wallace Black Elk, Lakota 

**If you define intelligence as the capacity to solve problems, plants have a lot to teach us. 
 
Stefano Mancuso, pioneer in the field of plant neurobiology.
 

Words from the Circle p. 33Words from the Circle p. 35
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