Native American Quotes – Great Words From Great Americans

Crazy Horse

It is known that Crazy Horse did not like to have his picture taken, however this sketch made in 1934 by a Mormon Missionary while interviewing one of Crazy Horse’s family members is said to be accurate. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

“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.)

“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 HorseSioux 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 inMontana.

“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 JosephNez 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.” – SatantaKiowa Chief

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce. 

“If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace…..Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it…….Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade….where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.”  – Chief JosephNez Perce

“If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the… present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child’s feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!” – Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker

“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

“These were the words given to my great-grandfather by the Master of Life: “At some time there shall come among you a stranger, speaking a language you do not understand. He will try to buy the land from you, but do not sell it; keep it for an inheritance to your children.” — Aseenewub, Red Lake Ojibwa

“My son, you are now flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. By the ceremony performed this day, every drop of white blood was washed from your veins; you were taken into the Shawnee Nation…” – Black Fish, Shawnee, recalling 1778 adoption of Daniel Boone into the tribe

Talawiqpiki Kachina

Talawiqpiki Kachina

“When I am too old and feeble to follow my sheep or cultivate my corn, I plan to sit in the house, carve Kachina dolls, and tell my nephews and nieces the story of my life…  Then I want to be buried in the Hopi way. Perhaps my boy will dress me in the costume of a Special Officer, place a few beads around my neck, put a paho and some sacred cornmeal in my hand, and fasten inlaid turquoise to my ears. If he wishes to put me in a coffin, he may do even that, but he must leave the lid unlocked, place food nearby, and set up a grave ladder so that I can climb out. I shall hasten to my dear ones, but I will return with good rains and dance as a Katcina in the plaza with my ancestors…” – Don Talayesva (late 19th century) Hopi Sun Clan chief

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” – Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior, and orator

“I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew a free breath…I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted over that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.” – Ten Bears [Parra-wa-samem] (late 19th century) Yamparethka Comanche Chief

“I do not see a delegation for the Four Footed. I see no seat for the Eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. But we are after all a mere part of Creation. And we must consider to understand where we are. And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the Creation.” – Chief Oren Lyons, Oneida in an address to the Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 1977

“A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers, but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers on its banks. These soldiers cut down my timber, they kill my buffalo and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting.” – SatantaKiowa Chief