Indigenous Views

Native American Quotes

The news of the week disturbs and depresses me. This administration continues to roll back environmental regulations. He signed a bill this week that will allow the dumping of mining wastes into waterways. He also, very quietly, implemented a roll back of restrictions on trophy hunters which will impact dwindling elephant and lion populations. When a person is so far removed from “nature’s softening influence,” they are ignorant of their interdependence with all other life on the planet.  In an effort to focus on the positive, I have created a slide show of Native American quotes. This was inspired by an online story about Luther Standing Bear at http://realfarmacy.com/quotes-chief-question-everything-society/

Luther Standing Bear

  • The old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
  • This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
  • It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. 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 earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.

 

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.” —Native American Proverb

“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), Nuxalk Nation

Ben Black Elk  1899 - 1973
Oglala Lakota
Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream." But we Indians didn't have a dream, we had a reality.

Leon Shenandoah (Chief)  1915 - 1996
Onondaga
Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes. In order to do this we must recognize the enemy.. the one within us. We must begin with ourselves.

We are the spiritual energy that is thousands of times stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy in the combines will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World, to be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace.

Dan George, Tsleil-Wauthth

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass... speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky
the rhythm of the sea... speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning
the dew drop on the flower... speaks to me.

The strength of fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun
and the life that never goes away.
They speak to me and my heart soars