Native American Quotes – Great Words From Great Americans

Sarah Winnemucca

Sarah Winnemucca

“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

 

All birds, even those of the same species, are not alike, and it is the same with animals and with human beings. The reason Wakan Tanka does not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is because each is placed here by WakanTanka to be an independent individuality and to rely upon itself. – Shooter Teton Sioux

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

“Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun.” – Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee

“The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors.” – Chief Plenty Coups, Crow

“When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them. ” – Chief Seattle [Seatlh],  Suquamish Chief

“How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right.” – From Black Hawk, Sauk

“I love the land of winding waters more then all the rest of the world. A man who would not love his father’s grave is worse then a wild animal.” – Chief JosephNez Perce

“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle,  Suquamish Chief

“Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” — Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee

“It is strictly believed and understood by the Sioux that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices, and promises. Therefore the child is considered “sent by Wakan Tanka,” through some element–namely the element of human nature.” – Robert Higheagle (early 20th century) Teton Sioux

“A wee child toddling in a wonder world, I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan.” – Zitkala-Sa

“I will follow the white man’s trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children, and their children. The Great Spirit has shown me – a day will come when they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.” – Many Horses

”All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly…. We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two.” – Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa) Pawnee

Chief Red Cloud, 1900

Chief Red Cloud, 1900. Click for prints, downloads and products.

“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.” – Chief Red Cloud (Makhipiya-Luta) Sioux Chief

“I was hostile to the white man…We preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be let alone. Soldiers came…in the winter..and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They said we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape…but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. After that I lived in peace, but the government would not let me alone. I was not allowed to remain quiet. I was tired of fighting…They tried to confine me..and a soldier ran his bayonet into me. I have spoken.” – Crazy Horse – Sioux Chief