WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES

**"A long time ago my father told me what his father had told him, that there was once a Lakota holy man, called "Drinks Water", who dreamed what was to be... He dreamed that the four-leggeds were going back to the Earth, and that a strange race would weave a web all around the Lakotas. He said, "You shall live in square grey houses, in a barren land..." Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking."  Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

"A people is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground."– Cheyenne saying

'There are certain things that women can't do, and I respect that. Every ceremony has a role for women, but not every role is the woman's. I'm very respectful of my role as a Cheyenne woman, but that doesn't mean I can't be president of my tribe.' Geri Small, Cheyenne tribal president 

"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 

"We grieve more because we have been disconnected from our earth, our first Mother, our spiritual Mother."
 Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

"In our culture, an essential part of ... is what you must do for each other, in spite of the differences between you."
Michael Jandreau, chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux.

**“The dominant society teaches us to be in front, be aggressive...Our culture teaches us not to compete but to cooperate with each other, to find balance [and] unity.  We go as fast as the slowest person. The warriors need to lead from the back. ”
Phillip Whiteman, Northern Cheyenne

"When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches.  After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it.  How is it?  Why is it the Apaches wait to die- that they carry their lives on their fingernails?  They roam over the hills and the plains and want the heavens to fall on them.  The apaches were once a great nation; they are now but few, because of this they want to die and so carry their nails on their fingernails."  -Cochise, Chiricahua Apache

"Among the Indians there have been no written laws.  Customs handed down from generation to generation have been the only laws to guide them.  Every one might act different from what was considered right did he choose to do so, but such acts would bring upon him the censure of the Nation....  This fear of the Nation's censure acted as a mighty band, binding all in one social, honorable compact."  
George Copway (Kah-ge-ga-bowh) OjibwaChief - 1818-1863

**"Respect means listening until everyone has been heard and understood, only then is there a possibility of "Balance and Harmony" the goal of Indian Spirituality."  DaveChief, Grandfather of Red Dog

"When I am dead, cry for me a little.  Think of me sometimes, but not too much.  It is not good for you or your wife or your husband or your children to allow your thoughts to dwell too long on the dead.  Think of me now and again as I was in life, at some moment which is pleasant to recall, but not for long.  Leave me in peace as I shall leave you, too, in peace.  While you live, let your thoughts be with the living."
 Ishi -Yahi of California - (1862- 1916)

"The time will soon be here when my grandchild will long for the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce needles, or the screech of an eagle.  But he will not make friends with any of these creatures and when his heart aches with longing he will curse me.  Have I done all to keep the air fresh?  Have I cared enough about the water?  Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom?  Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild's fondness?"  -Chief Dan George-(1899 - 1981)

"Where no one intrudes, many can live in harmony."  
-Chief Dan George

"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 the Great Holiness." -
Chief Luther Standing Bear

" I have been to the end of the earth.  I have been to the end of the waters.  I have been to the end of the sky.  I have been to the end of the mountains.  I have found none that are not my friends."
-Navajo proverb

"My Father: a long time has passed since first we came upon our lands; and our people have all sunk into their graves.  They had sense.  We are all young and foolish, and do not wish to do anything that they would not approve, were they living.  We are fearful we shall offend their spirits if we sell our lands; and we are fearful we shall offend you if we do not sell them.  This has caused us great perplexity of thought, because we have counselled among ourselves, and do not know how we can part with our lands.  My Father, we have sold you a great tract of land already; but it is not enough!  We sold it to you for the benefit of your children, to farm and to live upon.  We have now but a little left.  We shall want it all for ourselves.  We know not how long we shall live, and we wish to leave some lands for our children to hunt upon.  You are gradually taking away our hunting grounds.  Your children are driving us before them.  We are growing uneasy.  What lands you have you may retain.  But we shall sell no more."
Metea, a Potowatami chief of the Illinois nation

**"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children?  That the earth is our mother?  What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.  This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.  Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.  One thing we know: our god is also your god.  The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.  "
Chief Seattle

**"Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit.  If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it?  Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?" -
Sogoyewapha, (Red Jacket), Seneca 1752-1830 "

"We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children.  It teaches us to be thankful, to be united, and to love one another! We never quarrel about religion."
Sogoyewapha, (Red Jacket), Seneca 1752-1830

** "We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born .We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees."
Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), NuxalkNatio

"No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers....  Sell a country!  Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?  Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?  The way, the only way to stop this evil is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, asit was first, and should be now, for it was never divided." We gave them forest-clad mountains and valleys full of game, and in return what did they give our warriors and our women?  Rum, trinkets, and a grave. "
 Tecumseh - Shawnee

"Brothers -- My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace; but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother.  Where today are the Pequot?  Where today are the Narrangansett, the Mohican, the Pakanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people?  They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow befor a summer sun."
Tecumseh Shawnee

"Martin Luther King said, ' I have a dream.' But we Indians didn't have a dream.  We had a reality."
Ben Black Elk

"I want to roam the prairies.  There I am free and happy." S
antana 

"They're offering a helping hand in restoring Texas' relationship with Indian tribes in the state.  I think it's something that is very powerful.  It's much needed, and it should be the hallmark of the next 100 years or a thousand years to come," Ysleta delSur Pueblo Gov.  Albert Alvidrez 

"Look at the mess we've got ourselves into, just because we invited a gringo to eat some bananas."
 Aureliano Buendia 

"Our treatment of Indians . . . still affects the national consciousness... It seems a basic requirement to study the history of Indian people. Only through this study can we as a nation do what must be done if our treatment of the American Indian is not to be marked down for all time as a national disgrace." ~
John F. Kennedy ~

" After the devastation of tribal economies and the deliberate creation of tribal dependence on the services provided by this agency, this agency set out to destroy all things Indian...This agency forbade the speaking of Indian languages, prohibited the conduct of traditional religious activities, outlawed traditional government, and made Indian people ashamed of who they were. Worst of all, the Bureau of Indian Affairs committed these acts against the children entrusted to its boarding schools, brutalizing them emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. .. The trauma of shame, fear and anger has passed from one generation to the next, and manifests itself in the rampant alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence that plague Indian country .Many of our people live lives of unrelenting tragedy as Indian families suffer the ruin of lives by alcoholism, suicides made of shame and despair, and violent death at the hands of one another. So many of the maladies suffered today in Indian country result from the failures of this agency. Poverty, ignorance, and disease have been the product of this agency's work...."
Kevin Gover, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs

"If you really want a flag that represents slavery and oppression, fly the U.S. Flag. We've killed Indians with that flag. This country has done all kinds of things wrong and hidden behind that flag. No one says a thing." Drew Carey, USA Weekend, May 5-7, 2000

Photo © Roger Moore and friend

 Words From the Circle p.1 Words from the Circle p.3

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