Native Village

WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE


"The baskets were of great importance to us. They were woven with symbolic designs, like a peace pipe or the coffin of our great ancestors. There were friendship designs where everyone is holding hands." Principal Chief Leon Jones, Eastern Band of Cherokee

"We have to educate our young people. We want them to be proud of their heritage."
Principal Chief Leon Jones, Eastern Band of Cherokee

'If we don't know the language we probably won't be Indian people anymore. We'd be Americans with nice tans."
Dennis White, Lac Courte Oreilles Band, Chippewa

"Having pride in who you are is a key to success. Indian children need to be exposed to stories that show a balanced side of history and that we are a proud people."
Johnny Arlee, Salish 

"Now everybody shows up to work on time, clean and sober. The casino has strengthened families. People are meeting their responsibilities to their children."
Nancy McDarment, Tule River elder

"If you don't improve your community, you're going to lose it. You will lose your language, your culture. 
Phillip Martin, Choctaw

"Those are our ancestors that were never intended to be disturbed."
Dan Simplicio, Zuni Pueblo

"A basic ingredient that gives us life is salt. Mining takes away life."
Dan Simplicio, Zuni Pueblo
"
"We are fighting in a good way without compromise with the direction of our elders. We have that pride we need to unite with one voice without compromise. "
Sarah James, Gwich'in Steering Committee

"We are here [Wounded Knee] because in 1973, a lot of beautiful people sacrificed themselves. They put their lives on the line for you people. Thirty years from now, we may come here again, and there will be no BIA, no FBI, no IRS. We'll all be free."
Black Crow 

"In the schools, they are teaching our culture. Children are learning their language. They are learning the values of life. But there has got to be more done. We want to live. We want to live as a people."
Steve Dubray 

"The women and men who took part in this [Wounded Knee, 1973] are presidents, chiefs of their nations. The people that stood here in '73 are still doing things, providing leadership for their people across the country."
Vernon Bellecourt.

"As your children want to become doctors and lawyers, they may find it difficult. They may hear 'well, your parents were in a terrorist group/ We tell you that now, so you understand it.  Tell your children to tell their children this [Wounded Knee 1973] was a very proud moment. Wear that history like a badge of honor. We will never, ever say we were sorry we did it."
Dennis Banks, AIM

    **  "The spirit still has something for us to discover-an herb, a sprig, a flower-a very small flower, maybe you can spend a long time in its contemplation, thinking about it."   
Lame Deer, LAKOTA  

"We live in the depths of the forest and we are getting cornered as the whites close in on us. Without the forest we are nobody and we have no way of surviving. Without the forest we'll be gone, we'll be extinct."
To'o, an Awá leader

"I share your anger over the federal government's mismanagement of tribal funds. If this scandal were to happen to anyone else, it would be on the front pages of newspapers all across the country. It should be on 60 Minutes. But for some reason, because it's American Indians who are being victimized, it seems to be another story."
Senator John McCain, (R-Ariz) 

“**We will be measured by how well we hold our leaders accountable.”
Denise Juneau

“The foundation of any culture is language.”
Cheryl Kennedy, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde 

‘My mom has always told me the Sacajawea stories … It’s not in the history books."
Challis Baldwin, 14

**"The rule of indigenous environments: where there are indigenous peoples with a homeland, there are still biologically rich environments"
Bernard Nietschman

''One of the reasons that Indians survived was because of the women -- women like my aunt who held the society together. She's been such a good example to all the young people."
Evelyn Ostlie (about Agnes Bird Keller)

"Who's going to change the world? It's the little ones who will come through this facility."
Jim Riebsomer, Little Feet Child Development Center

"When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, 'ours.'"
Vine Deloria Jr.

"Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian."
Robert Orben

"I want to preserve the customs and traditions of our elders. If we don't, who will? It's very important to me to preserve our Native American way of life. "
Michaelsun Knapp, 13, Costanoan/Ohlone

  "If people are going to get back into balance, one of the things they have to do is seek the truth. They have to start really speaking the truth themselves, and that's a difficult thing to do. The way it is now in the world, we don't mind lying." 
John Peters (Slow Turtle), WAMPANOAG

“Why do we have to fight for our lands and resources when our people once used to once roam this land freely? We are not opposed to resource development but stand fast in the position that it must be balanced by it’s impact to our rights.”
Laura Medeiros

   "I believe ancestors strengthen us and make us who we are." Cea Anderson, Aleut/Lakota

"I know there's a purpose for me, just like there is for every child and adult out there. "
Cea Anderson, Aleut/Lakota

"Eat the Native food, dance the Native dances and tell the Native stories. There's a lot of wisdom and beauty that will otherwise be lost."
Deborah Tobola

"If you work hard and if you're dedicated and serious, then your dreams can come true. No matter what you want, you can be a lawyer or a doctor or whatever."
Bobby Madritsch, Lakota

"If you look at a traditional indigenous approach to human development, the most basic interpretation of the medicine wheel is that there are four equal parts of a human being: the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. It stands to reason, if you value and nurture and help develop all of those components of a person, they are obviously going to do better academically."
Charlene Crowe, Mother Earth's Children's Charter School

"If people don't have language they can't access the culture. The value system, the teachings, the songs, the prayers - those things would just fade away and be replaced by something else - by television, by radio and so forth."
Gregory T. Ortiz of Acoma Pueblo 

"To maintain one's identity in today's time is quite difficult because now we have to battle MTV, satellite television and all the radio stations. I mean, I'm a big Rolling Stones fan but I also love the songs that we have at home."
Gregory T. Ortiz of Acoma Pueblo

''Language is the key to our culture and it's what keeps us together as a community." Charlene Jones, Mashantucket Pequot

"Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within." Willaru Huayta,  Quecha

"Some see government [education] funding as begging for handouts, but some say our education is paid for by the blood of our ancestors and by payment for stolen land. There is nothing free about our education. We have this because our people lost everything."
Casey Douma, Haskell student body president 

“Sometimes we're impatient. If we're impatient, we get no rewards. Let other people do their own thing. Wait, take your turn when it comes. The Creator will always put something into your future, something very special.”
Franklin Kahn, Navajo

"Mentally, physically and spiritually, we are all connected together in a circle. It doesn’t matter what race we are. We all have a purpose, and we must learn to work together.”
Franklin Kahn, Navajo

"I could not turn back the time for the political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail. "
Queen Lili'uokalani, 1917

"We call it the `sacred' red road because it is the road that will lead us to living the good life, an honest and healthy life."
Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

"Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within."
Willaru Huayta, Quecha

"Now, we seek not just to survive, but to thrive.”
Tex Hall, President of the National Congress of American Indians 

"We do not exist today in a void -- our past and our future span out from us in this moment, telling the true story of who we are and what we can be."
Tex Hall, President of the National Congress of American Indians 

"Children need to see different models of teachers. Diversity is part of what America is about. It doesn't have to be proven. It's a reality."
Mildred Hudson, Recruiting New Teachers

"Learn your language, because if you don't, then who's going to teach it to your grandchildren?"
Sarah, 16, Oneida 

"You have to humble yourself... You will be blessed according to your humility."
Litefoot, Oneida


"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."
John Trudell 

"Our bones, flesh and blood are made up of the metals, liquids and minerals of the earth and everything on this planet is made up of the same things. As humans we have being, so everything on the earth does too in our culture, because we are made of the same thing."
John Trudell


"So much of your spirit just goes into the food. You can taste it in the food."
Loretta Barrett Oden, Citizen Potawatomie Nation

"The baskets were of great importance to us. They were woven with symbolic designs, like a peace pipe or the coffin of our great ancestors. There were friendship designs where everyone is holding hands."
Principal Chief Leon Jones, Eastern Band of Cherokee

"We have to educate our young people. We want them to be proud of their heritage."
Principal Chief Leon Jones, Eastern Band of Cherokee

'If we don't know the language we probably won't be Indian people anymore. We'd be Americans with nice tans."
Dennis White, Lac Courte Oreilles Band, Chippewa

"Having pride in who you are is a key to success. Indian children need to be exposed to stories that show a balanced side of history and that we are a proud people."
Johnny Arlee, Salish 

"Now everybody shows up to work on time, clean and sober. The casino has strengthened families. People are meeting their responsibilities to their children."
Nancy McDarment, Tule River elder

"If you don't improve your community, you're going to lose it. You will lose your language, your culture."
Phillip Martin, Choctaw

"During times of national tragedies or natural disasters, American Indians are always willing to help our Nation by providing manpower, financial assistance or spiritual comfort to those in need." Aurene Martin, Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

 Words from the Circle p.6 Words from the Circle p.8

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