Notable Quotes

Plow

You ask me to plow the ground. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest. — Wovoka, Paiute

Never!

Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, 'Never! Never!' — Chief Tecumseh

1868

In 1868, men came out and brought papers. We could not read them and they did not tell us truly what was in them. We thought the treaty was to remove the forts and for us to cease from fighting. But they wanted to send us traders on the Missouri, but we wanted traders where we were. When I reached Washington, the Great Father explained to me that the interpreters had deceived me. All I want is right and just. — Chief Red Cloud 

Hopes

Although wrongs have been done to me, I live in hopes. I have not got two hearts. Now we are together again to make peace. My shame is as big as the earth, although I will do what my friends have advised me to do. I once thought that I was the only man that persevered to be the friend of the white man, but since they have come and cleaned out our lodges, horses and everything else, it is hard for me to believe the white men any more. — Black Kettle

The First Peace

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. — Black Elk

The Great Spirit

The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. — Big Thunder (Bedagi), Wabanaki Algonquin

Laws

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) Ojibwa Chief

Traditions

The traditions of our people are handed down from father to son. The Chief is considered to be the most learned, and the leader of the tribe. The Doctor, however, is thought to have more inspiration. He is supposed to be in communion with spirits... He cures the sick by the laying of hands, and payers and incantations and heavenly songs. He infuses new life into the patient, and performs most wonderful feats of skill in his practice.... He clothes himself in the skins of young innocent animals, such as the fawn, and decorated himself with the plumage of harmless birds, such as the dove and hummingbird ... — Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute

Wakan-Tanka

From Wakan-Tanka, the Great Mystery, comes all power. It is from Wakan-Tanka that the holy man has wisdom and the power to heal and make holy charms. Man knows that all healing plants are given by Wakan-Tanka, therefore they are holy. So too is the buffalo holy, because it is the gift of Wakan-Tanka. — Flat-Iron, Maza Blaska Oglala Sioux Chief

While I Stood There

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell, and I understood more than I saw. For I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. — Black Elk

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