WORDS FROM THE CIRCLE

NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTES

" Will you ever begin to understand the meaning of the very soil beneath your feet? We (Native Americans) are the guardians of this sacred place." Blue Cloud,  Mohawk

“I hear the white men say there will be no more war. But this cannot be true. There will be other wars. Men have not changed, and whenever they quarrel they will fight, as they have always done."  
Chief Plenty Coups

"The West didn't get wild until the white people got there. There's no such word as wild in the Indian languages. The closest we can get to it is the word free. We were free people."   
Oren R. Lyons (Onandaga)

"Many people ask why we fight the white man's war. Our answer is that we are proud to be Americans. We're proud to be American Indians. We always stand ready when our country needs us."   
Raymond Nakai, former Navajo Code Talker,

"No matter which continent your ancestors came from, if you are an American, you are part Indian in your roots. "  
Larry Echohawk (Pawnee)

'I saw the English took much ground, and I thought if I prayed, the English would not take away my ground.'' 
  John Speene, Nonatum

"The music of the Indian is the spontaneous and sincere expression of the soul of a people. It springs from our own continent, and is thus, of all music, distinctly American. If Indian song be encouraged with Indian, and recognition of it awakened among our own people, America may one day contribute a unique music to the world of art."  
Natalie Curtis, Musicologist

"When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men."  
Geronimo [Goyathlay] (1829-1909) Chircahua Apache 
"A charm of spontaneity that cannot fail to please those who would come near to nature and enjoy the expression of emotion untrammeled by the intellectual control of schools." -  Alice Fletcher, Anthropologist
**
"De Soto was one of the cruelest conquerors there ever was. When Indians got in his way, he just ran right over them. That's probably why they named a car after him." 
Richard Lederer

""We want to maintain ourselves as we are so we can contribute our differences, our particular understanding, to both the national community and the global society."
LaDonna Harris    Comanche

"The great cities of Machu Picchu, Tenoshtitlan, Kahokia, and the village cities of the Anasazi reflect industrious and prosperous societies that lived in harmony with Mother Nature, possessing an understanding that humans exist together with, not separate from, the natural world that ensures survival."
Ben Nighthorse Campbell  Northern Cheyenne

"Somehow Tonto was always there. Like the Negro butler and the Oriental gardener. Tonto represented a silent, subservient subspecies of Anglo-Saxon whose duty was to do the bidding of the all-wise white hero."
Vine Deloria Jr. Standing Rock Sioux

“My heart sings with pride when I think of the fighting my people, the red men of all tribes, did in this last great war; and if ever the hands of my own people hold the rope that keeps this country’s flag high in the air, it will never come down while an Absarokee warrior lives.”
Chief Plenty Coups

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."  
  Chief Seattle

"We believe that all living things come from our sacred mother earth, all living things, the green things, the winged things of the air, the four-leggeds, the things that crawl and the two-leggeds....But the important thing in our philosophy is that we believe we're the weakest things on earth, that the two-legged is the weakest thing on earth because we have no direction....Now, because we are the weakest things on earth, we do not have license to exploit or manipulate our brother and sisters and we also know, because of our role in life, that the buffalo and all other relatives of ours teach us, and so we built our civilization."    
  Dennis Banks, Chippewa

"Why not teach school children more of the wholesome proverbs and legends of our people? That we killed game only for food, not for fun... Tell your children of the friendly acts of the Indians to the white people who first settled here. Tell them of our leaders and heroes and their deeds... Put in your history books the Indian's part in the World War. Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people who treated him unjustly. We ask this, Chief, to keep sacred the memory of our people.  " 
Grand Council Fire of American Indians to the Mayor of Chicago, 1927 

"No civilized music has such complex, elaborate, and changing rhythm as has the music of the American Indian." 
Natalie Curtis. 
""Like the swelling buds on the bare branch, which hint the approach of summer's wealth, so these little vocables and rhythmic devices whisper the coming of poets."      Alice Fletcher

"My grandmother had this incredible dream in which she said to us, 'You girls, you children, you will be the voice we couldn't have.' Our music then became a promise to our grandmother to keep the stories alive...Our music was born out of a vision by our grandmother. There was so much repression for some of our elders during those dark years when songs couldn't be sung and ceremonies were out of the question."     
Priscilla Coolidge of Walela

"[A non-Indian] said that he was really sorry about what had happened to Indians, but that there was good reason for it. The continent had to be developed and he felt that Indians had stood in the way and thus had had to be removed. "After all," he remarked, "what did you do to the land when you had it?" I didn't understand him until later when I discovered that the Cuyahoga River running through Cleveland is inflammable....How many Indians could have thought of creating a flammable river?"            Vine Deloria Jr., Standing Rock Sioux

**"It is the general belief of the Indians that after a man dies his spirit is somewhere on the earth or in the sky, we do not know exactly where, but we are sure that his spirit still lives. . . . So it is with Wakantanka. We believe that he is everywhere, yet he is to us as the spirits of our friends, whose voices we can not hear."  
  Chased-by-Bears, Santee-Yanktonai Sioux

"The music and the business of Native American culture is sometimes hard to get a handle on. Yet no matter what the vantage point, one aspect of this multi-faceted musical world is obvious; its big and getting bigger."      Davin Seay, Billboard Magazine

"It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the atrocities--intentional, neglectful, or accidental--perpetuated on Indian people by the conquering culture, and later by the very government that assumed responsibility for their protection." Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Northern Cheyenne

**"We're still here. We still speak our language. We still hear the drum. We still dance." 
Melvin Francis, Passamaquoddy
 
"The most important thing now is to reveal the inner temple of the soul with right thinking and right activity." -
Willaru Huayta QUECHAU NATION, PERU

"...what you need to get hold of is the real word, and what the language really means.  You got to speak it good and strong,"
Jimmie James, Yurok

**The Old Man said, `you are both ugly and handsome and you must accept your ugliness as well as your handsomeness in order to really accept yourself."
Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

**“People are absent from the pages of history. There is much that we can incorporate into the traditional disciplines. As a grandmother, I would say, ‘slow down.’ I would also remind you to be kind. You are the ancestors of those who are yet to come."  
Henrietta Mann,  Cheyenne-Arapaho

“Our children are being impacted by the curriculum of public schools. We’re living in a diverse society. What is the cultural competency of our teachers?” 
Donna Budnick, Ottawa

  "Bias in the curriculum is causing stereotypes, discrimination and leads to racism. It also breaks down communication between groups. " Donna Budnick, Ottawa

**“Students really come out and say, ‘No one every told me about these things in history books.' People do things to other people and they don’t want to talk about it.  It’s the same thing with history.”
Sonny Smart

“When you marginalize culture, you’re marginalizing (its people).  I don’t see a whole lot of big change occurring. Culture, for me, is defined at home.” 
Sonny Smart

 

 Words from the Circle p. 2Words from the Circle p.4

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