American Wisdom, page one
live your life that the fear of
death can never enter your heart.
do not force their way with great strife. Flowers
to perfection slowly in the sun. Don't be in a
spiritual matters. Go step by step, and
be very sure.
tell me this one little thing, if you have any sense.
Which of these
two is the wisest and happiest--he who labors without ceasing
obtains, and that with great trouble, enough to live on, or he
in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasures of
hunting and fishing?
who know how to play can easily leap over the adversities of
life. And one who knows how to sing and laugh never brews mischief.
major difference between our people and those of the
dominant society today is humility. Among our people,
matter how far or how high a person goes, they know they
are small in the presence of God and the universe.
life is Wakan. So also is everything which exhibits power,
whether in action, as the winds and drifting clouds, or in
passive endurance, as the boulder by the wayside. For even
the commonest sticks and stones have a spiritual essence which
must be revered as a manifestation of the all-pervading
mysterious power that fills the universe.
The thing wrong with the world is that people
don't have instructions.
We were told almost three hundred years ago that people would be
coming to us and asking for our instructions. We were told
in the 1700s that there'd be a day when white people would be
to us, asking for instructions and finding out the way we think.
Indians joke that when they see a white man coming, they see
mark walking down the road. That's not one of the things I
I feel for the ones who feel lost. I tell them to use
common sense and listen.
The Creator has the answers. A lot of people are searching
they don't have. They're searching for the wisdom of a
whole way of life.
So they come to the Indians. That's why I say it's in the
that they are coming to us, because they are wanting to learn
our way of life,
what it is all about. It's true, I get a lot of people,
even college people,
who want to know how to be a "Human Being." We
don't laugh at the
white people, Most of the Indians can't laugh because even they
been brought up in the Longhouse like I have. They've got
to learn too.
Even some of the chiefs have had to learn and I don't know
how much they have learned.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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When you arise in the
morning, give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and
of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the
fault lies in yourself.
of conduct were just as rigid as the laws of any
but force seldom was used to enforce good
person was his own judge. Deceitfulness
crime. We lived according to our own standards
principles, not for what others might think of us.
among my people was like traveling in a canoe. The man
sat in front and paddled the canoe. The woman sat in the
but she steered.
|Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.
on to what is good, even if it is a handful of dirt.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree that stands by
Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life, even if it is easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, even if I have gone away from you.
It is our desire that we and you should be as one
mind, and one body, thus becoming one people, entertaining
a mutual love and regard for each other, to be preserved
firm and entire, not only between you and us, but between
your children and our children, to all succeeding generations.
we show our respect for other living
things, they respond with respect for us.
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long time ago, the Creator came to Turtle Island and said to the
"You will be the keepers of the Mother Earth. Among
you I will give the wisdom
about Nature, about the interconnectedness of all things, about
about living in harmony. You Red People will see the
secrets of Nature. You
will live in hardship and the blessing of this is you will stay
close to the
Creator. The day will come when you will need to share the
secrets with other
people of the earth because they will stray from their Spiritual
The time to start sharing is today.
American Wisdom, page one
that you are all people and that all people are you.
It does not require many words to speak the
time will soon be here when my grandchildren will long for
the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce
needles, or the screech of an eagle. But they will not
friends with any of these creatures and when their hearts ache
with longing, they will curse me. Have I done all to keep
fresh? Have I cared enough about the water? Have I
eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could
to earn my grandchildren's fondness?
(Chief Dan George)
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|Love is something you and I must have.
We must have it because
feeds upon it.
We must have it because without it we
become weak and faint.
Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails.
love we can no longer look
confidently at the world.
We turn inward and
begin to feed upon
our own personalities,
and little by little we destroy ourselves.
With it we are creative. With
it we march tirelessly. With
with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.
Chief Dan George
it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray
a little more time to live their lives over again in a different
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
the Micmac people used to have council, the old men
would speak and tell the young men what to do--and the young
men would listen and do what the old men told them to do.
white men have changed that, too: Now the young men speak,
and the old men listen. I believe the Micmac council was
Chief Peter Paul Toney Babey
was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
No one was quick with a question, no matter how important,
and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time
for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning
and conducting a conversation.
Luther Standing Bear
people were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. We are
all brothers and sisters. The Earth is the mother of all
and all people should have equal rights upon it.
Heinmot Tooyalaket (Chief Joseph)
old Indian teaching was that it is wrong to tear loose from
its place on the earth anything that may be growing there.
may be cut off, but it should not be uprooted. The trees
the grass have spirits. Whatever one of such growth may be
destroyed by some good Indian, the act is done in sadness
and with a prayer for forgiveness.
nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on
the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its
nor how strong its weapons.
Spirit, I want no blood upon my land to stain the grass. I
want it clean and pure, and I wish it so, that all who go
among my people may find it peaceful when they come,
and leave peacefully when they go.
Chief Ten Bears
Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying
life force that flowed in and through all things--the flowers of
plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals--and was the
same force that had been breathed into the first human.
things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great
Chief Luther Standing Bear
you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live
your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
civilization, unfortunately, does not link knowledge and
but rather, it connects knowledge and power and makes them
Vine Deloria, Jr.