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Native American LegendsNATIVE AMERICAN LEGENDS

Great Words From Great Americans

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Chief Spotted Tail"This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things... This war has come from robbery - from the stealing of our land." - Spotted Tail

"Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings. It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet; to allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes; bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the Sky, putting it in and giving it out from the heart."  - Brooke Medicine Eagle

"The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged...." - Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux Chief

"There is no death. Only a change of worlds. - Chief Seattle [Seatlh], Suquamish Chief

"It was supposed that lost spirits were roving about everywhere in the invisible air, waiting for children to find them if they searched long and patiently enough...[The spirit] sang its spiritual song for the child to memorize and use when calling upon the spirit guardian as an adult." - Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket], Salish

"The idea of full dress for preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability. The preparation is for death, in case that should be the result of conflict. Every Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet the great Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether in imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sickness or injury at times of peace. -Wooden Leg (late 19th century) Cheyenne

"We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have for our land, we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go, to let it go it will be like throwing away (our) mother that gave (us) birth.". - Letter from Aitooweyah to John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee.

"When a white army battles Indians and wins, it is called a great victory, but if they lose it is called a massacre." - Chiksika, Shawnee

"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." - Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia, Canada

 

"We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth, it is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood...we bid farewell to it and all we hold dear." - Charles Hicks, Tsalagi (Cherokee) Vice Chief speaking of the Trail of Tears, November 4, 1838

 

"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home." - Chief Aupumut in 1725, Mohican.

"The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies." - Mary Brave Bird, Lakota

"We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit." - Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker

"I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself." - Lone Man (Isna-la-wica), Teton Sioux

"Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back with interest. We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank."  - Chief Maquinna, Nootka

 

"I think over again my small adventures
My fears, those small ones that seemed so big
For all the vital things I had to get and reach
And yet there is only one great thing
The only thing
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world."
 

- Unknown Inuit

 

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Countless Indian words have become a part of the English language. Just a few of these include: barbecue, cannibal, caribou, chipmunk, chocolate, cougar, hammock, hurricane, mahogany, moose, opossum, potato, skunk, squash, toboggan and woodchuck.

"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

"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

"Our land is everything to us... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it - with their lives." - John Wooden Leg, Cheyenne

"Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence." - Mourning Dove [Christine Quintasket] (1888-1936) Salish

"Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one." - Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux Chief (This statement was taken from Crazy Horse as he sat smoking the Sacred Pipe with Sitting Bull for the last time, four days before he was assassinated.)

Crazy Horse"A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. - Crazy Horse, Sioux Chief

"We are going by you without fighting if you will let us, but we are going by you anyhow!" - Chief Joseph's warning to the defenders of Fort Fizzle in Montana.

"Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike--brothers of one father and one another, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows. We are poor... but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die...we die defending our rights." - Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux

"I have heard you intend to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don't want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when we settle down we grow pale and die. - Satanta, Kiowa Chief

 

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Also See:

 

Native American Facts & Trivia

Native American Proverbs & Wisdom

Legends, Myths & Tales of Native Americans

Native American Photographs

Totems & Their Meanings

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"Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings." - Brooke Medicine Eagle

 

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