WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE
"...It's about respecting our heritage. In many
ways, we don't respect our elders, both our human elders and nature, what came before us. I think we need to undertake a
fundamental shift in our values, to recognize that everything is a subset of the environment, and if we do not respect
the environment, we're contributing to our own demise."--John
Quigley, who is protesting the cutting of a 400 year-old oak tree near Santa Clarita, Ca.
"If one Native child is belittled or ridiculed for being of Native ancestry as a result of schools using inappropriate Native names and symbols, this is unacceptable." Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. D-N.J.
[FrontPage Confirmation Field Component] "Respect means that you listen to your elders, your parents, and your teachers. They are trying to help you. You should pay attention. That way, you honor them." Wallace Black Elk, Sicangu Lakota Spiritual Elder
"You have been given four things: Wisdom, Knowledge, Power, and Gift. These things that I am telling you may take years to digest in your minds before they begin to make sense. You must honor these four blessings by having good thoughts, good words, showing kindness to others. When you do this, you will begin to understand what I am talking about." Wallace Black Elk, Sicangu Lakota Spiritual Elder
used "My people understand that you children are sacred. You are precious. You are our future. Your elders, parents, and teachers need to teach you well so that you can help them when they are old. Listen to what they are teaching you so you will know what to do when you are in charge." -Wallace Black Elk
**"You are part of everything! You are part of the fire, you are part of the water, you are part of the green, you are part of the stars, and you are related to everything. You are related to the stones, to the trees, to the fish, to the creepy-crawlers, to the ones that fly, to the ones that walk on all fours, and to the ones that walk on two legs. Everything is sacred and, therefore, you are sacred too. That's what we mean when we say, Mitakuye oyasin." Wallace Black Elk, Sicangu Lakota Spiritual Elder
" And those youth out there that want to learn the culture but drink or do drugs, I would encourage them to remember that Tunkasila, the Creator, already forgave you--that it is you that have to know how to forgive yourself." Nathan Chasing Horse, Lakota
**" We are living in a time when we all need to come together and help one another. The spirits say we need to learn to get along." Nathan Chasing Horse, Lakota
"To survive you've got to depend on each other, that's the way. If we didn't get along a long time ago, and if the people didn't agree and come together and help one another, we wouldn't have survived the hardships. So, we have to learn to bring that back. We have to learn how to put our differences aside rather than getting into "this person has more money" or "that person has more money", or, "this person has more knowledge" or "that person has more knowledge". We have to learn to get along. We don't have time to be arguing and putting each other down, there's no time for that anymore. " Nathan Chasing Horse, Lakota
**"We were here prior to U.S. nationhood. The average American needs to get off the fallacy we're going to be like everybody else. It's not going to happen." Cedric Sunray, Choctaw
"Our circle is timeless, flowing, it is a new life emerging from death-life winning out over death." Lame Deer, LAKOTA
"We understand education is our way up; it is freedom for our people." Joy Culbreath, Choctaw
"If we can't protect the Earth, can't protect the sky; if we can't protect our sacred sites, then we've failed the world." Jewell Praying Wolf James, Lummi
"Our churches are being attacked and our people can't go to them to pray. It's a fight against white men with gold in their eyes." Suzan Harjo
"Those of us who are Native, Asian, Hispanic or African American, we have been taught white studies since we were in the first grade. The only way to develop a stronger, better country is if we know ourselves." Wayne J. Stein of Montana State University"The language is just part of me, I guess. It's my culture, and I want to learn about it and teach my children and grandchildren, so they can teach other kids." Ispitaki, 11, Blackfoot
"9 out of 10 people think that as a Native American woman, I'm supposed to look like either that Land-O-Lakes butter girl, or Disney's Pocahontas," Charlotte Chinanao, Dineh and Jemez youth activist.
"Songs are like children. They all deserve love." Keith Secola
"A lot of people think Mohawks aren’t afraid of heights; that’s not true. We have as much fear as the next guy. The difference is that we deal with it better. We also have the experience of the old timers to follow and the responsibility to lead the younger guys. There's pride in walking iron." Kyle Karonhiaktatie Beauvais (Mohawk, Kahnawake) March 2002
"If we embrace one human being, If we enlighten one mind, If we warm one heart, We have then done well." Dragging Wolf
"Poverty of spirit in the United States is worse than the poverty of body in India and Africa." Mother Teresa
"Education is doubly important when you're a minority and for a tiny minority it's even more important than that." Helen Rountree
"Creativity is something that can be grown and expanded in almost anyone...You give people the tools, the freedom and the flexibility to use their creativity, along with a little direction, then you get out of the way. It's amazing what people can accomplish when they use their own creativity to follow their passion." William Harjo Bray, Muscogee
"The better care we take of our kids, the more able they will be to go anywhere in the world." Curt Holmes, Kalispal
"I'm interested in doing conservation work because like the word says I want to conserve the environment around me. And I know that it starts with me - that if I don't help no one else will either." Teanna Andrews, SCA Urban Youth Corps member
“Destiny begins in childhood.” Eva Bunnell, National Call to Action
"It seems to be that we always try to imitate people in the dominant culture. It is up to the people to change. We have to do it for ourselves." Danny Lopez, Tohono O'odham elder
"If you don't have recognition, the reservation people look at you as a white person who wants to be Indian." Tula Watter, Shawnee
"Who are we without our language?" Kahentisakhe Lazare, student, Mohawk.
"My children, education is the ladder to all our needs. Tell our people to take it." Manuelito, Navajo
"We are not human beings here on Earth having spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings here to have human experiences." Chief Bill Burke, Umatilla
"Our languages are the cornerstone of who we are as
Richards and Ida Bear
"Languages are a part of the Sovereignty Bundle and must be protected and cared for as tribes care for our rivers, land, sacred places, and our inalienable rights to govern ourselves." Gloria Emerson, Navajo U.S.A.
"If the Guaraní come to an end, who will pray, so that the world won't come to an end? Guaraní [Paraguay] proverb.
"With language rests life; with language rests death." Traditional Hawai'ian [U.S.A.] proverb.
"Our language is one of God's blessings that our forefathers received thousands of years ago. Our parents have conserved Kaqchikel, and we cannot simply cast it off now as if it were worth nothing. God gave us talent though Kaqchikel; either we bury it or we make it multiply." Kaqchikel [Guatemala]
"It would not be a good thing for the Mixe language to disappear because it represents our culture. We have inherited it from our ancestors. If it were to be lost, nothing would be left from the past and our brothers would not know each other." Mixe speaker [Mexico].
"Our language is useful for many things. We can talk to our own people in the way we are accustomed. It is useful for expressing what we feel, what we think, what we see, and what we want." Náhuatl speaker [Mexico].
"In Canada, "every Friday evening ... it was time for us to report whether we spoke our language, Cree, during the week. If we confessed to using our own language, we were denied the visit with our parents and younger brothers and sisters which was the only privilege we had. In other words, we had to lie to the ministry in order to visit with our parents and relatives." Gilbert Faries, Cree
"It's critical that we have a language to maintain the teachings. Even though I do not understand it, when I hear somebody speaking old Cree my heart gets really full. Something happens to me. I do not understand what it is." Myra Laramie, Cree
"Times have changed. The fight is very different now. We are going to fight with pencils and notebooks as well as with our intelligence. With pencils, notebooks, and our intelligence, we will survive." Don Mateo, traditional Guaraní [Paraguay] leader
"People do not follow the same direction, like water." Zulu proverb
Words from the Circle p.5 Words from the Circle p.77
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