Page 2 of Native American Wisdom

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


Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were.  The life of a person is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.

Black Elk
Be careful when speaking.  You create the world around you with your words.

from the Diné

The people who are living on this planet need to break with the narrow concept of human liberation, and begin to see liberation as something that needs to be extended to the whole of the natural world.  What is needed is the liberation of all things that support life--the air, the water, the trees--all the things which support the sacred web of life.

from the Haudenosaunee address to the western world, 1977
Training began with children who were taught to sit still and enjoy it.  They were taught to use their organs of smell, to look where there was apparently nothing to see, and to listen intently when all seemingly was quiet.  A child who cannot sit still is a half-developed child.

Luther Standing Bear

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 Lakota Holyman


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Humankind must be a steward of the Earth; Caretakers for
all that dwells upon it; To be of one heart with all things.

Human beings must learn to share the tears of every living
thing, To feel in our hearts the pain of the wounded animal,
each crushed blade of grass;

Mother Earth
is our flesh; the rocks, our bones;
The rivers are the blood of our veins.

We are all children of God. Traditions are open to anyone
who wants to learn.

Huichol Holy Man


Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the
Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Native American Proverb

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.


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 Apumut

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.


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.

Red Cloud

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)

Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that
face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality.
We feel that the road to technology. . . . has led modern society to a damaged and seared
earth.  Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction,
and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional
native people have traveled and are now seeking again?
The earth is not scorched on this trail.  The grass is still growing there.

William Commanda



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

Page 2 of Native American Wisdom


Once you have heard the meadowlark and caught the scent of fresh-plowed earth, peace cannot escape you.


Take the breath of the new dawn and
make it part of you.  It will give you strength.

from the Hopi

Everywhere is the center of the world.  Everything is sacred.

Black Elk

Hills are always more beautiful than stone buildings.  Living in a city
is an artificial existence.  Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under
their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough
beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded
with stars.  When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit's
making, it's easy for them to forget his laws.

Walking Buffalo

It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome.  Its
appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one's
spiritual balance.  Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity.
They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.



The promise Creator gives us
Comes with every new day,
The gift of breath, the gift of life,
Opportunities in a vast array.
How do we count our blessings,
Through the choices life can bring?
Is it through joyful lessons?
Or the fears to which we cling?
Are we learning to show gratitude,
For the victories over human pain?
By honoring the feeling choices,
We grasp the will we've regained.
Can we change our focus,
With no need to defend?
Acknowledging joy and sorrow,
Without judging foe or friend?
Tomorrow promises the fullness
Of every human way to know:
How we master each challenge
Determines our balance -
reflecting how we grow.

The Promise of Tomorrow
Jamie Sams
"Earth Medicine"

Flowers do not force their way with great strife.
Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun. . . .
Don't be in a hurry about spiritual matters.
Go step by step, and be very sure.

White Eagle

May the sun
bring you new energy by day.
May the moon
softly restore you by night.
May the rain
wash away your worries.
May the breeze
blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through the world
and know its beauty all the days of your life.

Apache blessing


The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance
of the grass, they speak to me.
The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm
of the sea, speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop on the flower, speaks to me.
The strength of the fire, the taste of the salmon, the trail
of the sun, and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.

Chief Dan George


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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

Page 2 of Native American Wisdom

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Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


Alone in his car heading west, it's easy for Jason
to feel sorry for himself and mad at the world.  But
then he gives a ride to Hector and learns that life
isn't nearly as negative as we sometimes see it,
and that the prejudice and discrimination that
he's experiencing aren't unique to him--and aren't
impossible to overcome.  The friendship between
this young man and his 70-year-old passenger is
an inspiring story of love and dealing with
obstacles in our lives.    
Book - Kindle



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