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Updated on April 4, 2013


In this segment, I have chosen quotes exclusively from Native American voices of the past. Despite their great variations in culture and language, all First Peoples believed achieving and maintaining harmony with the world around them was the main goal of life. By so doing, they could also be at peace with themselves and those they came into contact with. No matter what our religious persuasion, if any, most of us would agree that such a philosophy can only be beneficial in our frenetic modern society.

“We love quiet, we suffer the mouse to play;

when the woods are rustled by the wind, we fear not”

-Indian chief to Governor of Pennsylvania (1796)

“The old Lakota was wise. He knew that 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.”- Chief Luther Standing Bear

“In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty- the duty of prayer in the daily recognition of the unseen and the Eternal. He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, since to him, all days are holy.”

- Ohiyesa- Santee Dakota

“The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”- Black Elk- Lakota

“Civilized people depend too much on man-made printed pages. I turn to the Great Spirit’s book which is the whole of His creation.”

- Tatanga Mani- Stoney

“We Indians have a more human philosophy of life. We will show this country how to act human. Someday this country will revise its constitution, its laws, in terms of human beings, instead of property.”- Vine DeLoria, Jr.- Lakota

“It is a strict law that bids us to distribute our property among our friends and neighbors. It is a good law. Let the white man observe his law, we shall observe ours.”

-Anonymous- Kwakiutl

“Makoce kin tewahila- I cherish the land.” – Crazy Horse- Lakota

“The white man views land for its money value. We Indians have a spiritual tie with the earth, a reverence for it that whites don’t share and can hardly understand.”

- Harriet Pierce- Seneca

“Nature is God, God is Nature. Our whole life, our government, our religion comes from watching these things.”- Matthew King- Lakota holy man

“We have no law but that written on the heart of every rational creature by the immediate finger of the Great Spirit of the Universe Himself.”

- Joseph Brant- Mohawk

“Growing Flower, Growing Flower

with the dawn wind’s air, you are flying

on top of the enchanted world

on the side where the sun falls

beautifully, endlessly, sparkling, you go

with the enchanted dawn wind, you went”

-Sewa Yotume- Yaqui Deer Song


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