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We sang the songs that carried in their melodies all the sounds of Nature - the running waters, the sighing of the winds, and the calls of the animals. Teach these to your children, that they may come to love nature, as we love it!   (Grand Council Fire of American Indians)

 

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, Salish Tribe)

 

Every step you take should be a prayer. And if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always be walking in a sacred manner. (Oglala Sioux)

 

You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round...  The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves... (Black Elk, Oglala Sioux)

 

The True Peace. The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals,  and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men. (Black Elk, Oglala Sioux & Spiritual Leader)

 

The real world is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world.   (Black Elk, Sioux)

 

Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork, but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.

(Will Rogers, Cherokee)

 

Every little thing is sent for something, and in that thing there should be happiness and the power to make happy. (Plains Indian proverb)

 

A movement dies when it becomes acceptable.    (Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Sioux)

 

Put your feet down with pollen.  Put your hands down with pollen.  Put your head down with pollen.  Then your feet are pollen; your hands are pollen; your body is pollen; your mind is pollen; your voice is pollen.  The trail is beautiful.  Be still.  (Navajo Tribe)  

 

This we know ... The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.  Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand on it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.  (Chief Seattle)

Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger ... Show respect to all people and bow to no one. (Chief Seattle, Nez Perce)

Take only memories leave nothing but footprints. (Chief Seattle, Duwamish-Suquamish)

Everything is laid out for you.  Your path is straight ahead of you.  Sometimes it’s invisible but it's there. You may not know where it's going, but you still have to follow that path.  It's the path to the Creator.  That's the only path there is.  (Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy)

 

We must raise leaders of peace.  We must unite the religions of the world as the spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace.  We are the spiritual energy that is thousands of times stronger than nuclear energy.  Our energy is the combined will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World, to be of one body, one heart, and one mind for peace.  (Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy)

 

Thanksgiving. We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water. We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases. We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness, and Who directs all things for the good of Her children. (Iroquois Prayer)

 

O Great Spirit, whose Voice I hear in the winds, and whose Breath gives life to the world; hear me.  I am come before you, one of your many children.  I am small and weak; I need your strength and wisdom.  Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold, the red and purple sunset.  Make my hands respect the things You have made.  My ears sharp to hear your Voice.  Make me wise, that I may know the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.  Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes; so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.  (Chief Yellowlock)

 

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere; it is within each of us.  (Black Elk; Sioux)

 

I am blind and do not see the things of this world; but when the light comes from Above, it enlightens my Heart and I can see, for the Eye of my Heart sees everything: and through this vision I can help my people.  The heart is a sanctuary at the Center of which there is a little space, where the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye.  This is the Eye of Wakatanka by which He sees all things, and through which we see Him.  (Black Elk; Sioux)

 

Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song; and all about you will be beauty. (Navajo song)

 

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)

 

The truest and greatest power is the strength of Peace...because Peace is the Will of The Great Spirit... (Banyacya, Hopi)

 

With beauty before me, I walk. With beauty behind me, I walk. With beauty above me, I walk. With beauty below me, I walk. From the East, beauty has been restored. From the South, beauty has been restored. From the West, beauty has been restored. From the North, beauty has been restored. From the zenith in the sky, beauty has been restored. From the nadir of the earth, beauty has been restored.

From all around me, beauty has been restored. (Navajo prayer)

 

There are no chosen, only those who choose.  (Dik Darnell, Lakota Sioux Medicine Man)

 

Gather yourselves...All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner. (Hopi Elders)

 

Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.  And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...   But anywhere is the center of the world. (Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux)

One does not sell the land people walk on. (Crazy Horse; Sioux)

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)

 

There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our common destiny as one with our Mother the Earth. It is this sharing that must be considered with great care by the Elders and the medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm may come to people through ignorance and misuse of these powerful forces. (Resolution of the Fifth Annual Meetings of the Traditional Elders Circle, 1980)

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)

In early days we were close to nature. We judged time, weather conditions, and many things by the elements—the good earth, the blue sky, the flying of geese, and the changing winds. We looked to these for guidance and answers. Our prayers and thanksgiving were said to the four winds—to the East, from whence the new day was born; to the South, which sent the warm breeze which gave a feeling of comfort; to the West, which ended the day and brought rest; and to the North, the Mother of winter whose sharp air awakened a time of preparation for the long days ahead. We lived by God's hand through nature and evaluated the changing winds to tell us or warn us of what was ahead. Today we are again evaluating the changing winds. May we be strong in spirit and equal to our Fathers of another day in reading the signs accurately and interpreting them wisely. May Wah-Kon-Tah, the Great Spirit, look down upon us, guide us, inspire us, and give us courage and wisdom. Above all, may He look down upon us and be pleased. (Unknown Speaker addressing the National Congress of American Indians in the mid 1960's)

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. Listen to all the teachers in the woods. Watch the trees, the animals and all the living things--you'll learn more from them than books. (Many Horses)

For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short  while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.  (Don Juan Matus; Yaqui)

 

If one is to succeed in anything, the success must come gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.   (Don Juan Matus; Yaqui)

 

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you. Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.  (Don Juan Matus; Yaqui)

 

Once you decide something put all your petty fears away. Your decision should vanquish them. I will tell you time and time again, the most effective way to live is as a warrior. Worry and think before you make any decision, but once you make it, be on your way free from worries or thoughts; there will be a million other decisions still awaiting you. That's the warrior's way. In order to become a man of knowledge one must be a warrior. One must strive without giving up, without a complaint, without flinching, until one sees , only to realize then that nothing matters. You're too concerned with liking people or with being liked yourself. A man of knowledge likes, that's all. He likes whatever or whoever he wants, but he uses his controlled folly to be unconcerned about it. (Don Juan Matus; Yaqui)

Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life. (Tatanga Mani)

The earth and myself are of one mind. (Wovoka, Paiute)

You must stop talking to yourself. Every one of us does that. We carry on an internal talk. We talk about our world. In fact we maintain our world with our internal talk. Whenever we finish talking to ourselves the world is always as it should be. We renew it, we kindle it with life, we uphold it with our internal talk. Not only that, but we also choose our paths as we talk to ourselves. Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die.  A warrior is aware of this and strives to stop his talking. This is the last point you have to know if you want to live like a warrior. First of all you must use your ears to take some of the burden from your eyes. We have been using our eyes to judge the world since the time we were born. We talk to others and to ourselves mainly about what we see. A warrior is aware of that and listens to the world; he listens to the sounds of the world. He is aware that the world will change as soon as he stops talking to himself and he must be prepared for that monumental jolt. The world is such-and-such or so-and-so only because we tell ourselves that that is the way it is. If we stop telling ourselves that the world is so-and-so, the world will stop being so-and-so. You must start slowly to undo the world.  The worms, the birds, the trees, all of them can tell us unimaginable things if only one could have the speed to grasp their message. (Don Juan Matus; Yaqui)

The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet. (Joe Coyhis)

Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood is ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence ... What are the fruits of silence? They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character. (Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota)

Civilized people depend too much on man-made pages. I turn to the Great Spirit's book which is the whole of his creation. (Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux)

Day and night cannot dwell together. Your religion was written on tables of stone, ours was written on our hearts. (Tecumseh, Shawnee)

The Great Heavenly Father, who will look down upon us, will give all the tribes his blessing, that we may go forth in peace, and live in peace all our days, and that He will look down upon our children and finally lift us far above this earth: and that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as His children, that all the tribes may be His children, and as we shake hands to-day upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace. (Red Cloud; Marpiya-Luta Oglala)

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 the earth. We learn to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that is to feel beauty. We never rail at the storms, the furious winds, the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensifies human futility, so whatever comes we should adjust ourselves by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint. Bright days and dark days are both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close the Great Holiness.  (Chief Luther Standing Bear Oglala)

We cannot all sit on the same side of the Fire. A Council Fire forms a circle, not a line or a square. When we move to the side, we still sit at the Fire with our Brothers and Sisters, but as we move away from one we move toward another. The circle, like the Dream Hoop, brings us ever back to where we start. Any time words of respect and love are spoken, they will return as given. A harsh word runs forever in the circle, eventually vanishing from the wear against itself. Love settles within the Circle, embracing it and thereby lasting forever, turning within itself. The Medicine Wheel is the circle of life (sometimes referred to as the Scared Hoop) Starting with birth and continuing through out our lives until death, when we have gone full circle. The Medicine wheel has four Direction, each direction offering its own lessons, color, and animal guide. There are to paths shown which cross in the center, at which point for me is the heart. (for when you work from your heart, you can reach all directions.) The path from East to West is the path of spirits, (the Blue Road) the path from South to North is our physical Walk (the Red Road ). (Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux)

The elders have sent me to tell you that now is like a rushing river, and this will be experienced in many different ways. There are those who would hold onto the shore... there is no shore. The shore is crumbling. Push off into the middle of the river. Keep your head above the water, look around to see who else is in the river with you, and celebrate. (Choquash)

Walk in peace. Be undisturbed and unperturbed: all is in God's plan. Never doubt this. Bring God into your life, and you will see miracles. (White Eagle)

When your tasks seem a little heavy and over-whelming remember just to do one thing at a time quietly, and leave the rest because the rest is not your job. What you cannot get through you must hand back to God, and God will work it out for you. (White Eagle)

 

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait. When doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still. Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists ... as it surely will. Then act with courage. (White Eagle)

 

O our Father, the Sky, hear us and make us strong. O our Mother, the Earth, hear us and give us support. O Spirit of the East, send us your Wisdom. O Spirit of the South, may we tread your path.
O Spirit of the West, may we always be ready for the long journey. O Spirit of the North, purify us
with your cleansing winds. (American Canadian Sioux)


 

SERVICE!