Native American Wisdom~ various tribes

A selection of my favorite words of wisdom from various tribes.


Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for ... Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our lives - they grow everywhere.
Big Elk - Omaha

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 Alonquin

For the Great Spirit is everywhere: He hears whatever is in our minds and hearts, and it is not necessary to speak to him in a loud voice-
Black Elk Oglala Lakota

We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel with God, as the Catholic and Protestants do. We do not want to learn that.
We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on earth. But we never quarrel about God. We do want to learn that.
Chief Joseph - Nez Perce

I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more. I will tell you in my way how the Indians see things. The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but it does not require many words to speak the truth.
Chief Joseph - Nez Perce

Look at me - I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we want to train our children right. Riches will 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 - Sioux

"The Great Spirit raised both the white man and the Indian. I think he raised the Indian first. He raised me in this land, it belongs to me. The white man was raised over the great waters, and his land is over there. Since they crossed the sea, I have given them room. There are now white people all about me. I have but a small spot of land left. The Great Spirit told me to keep it."
Chief Red Cloud - Sioux

The red man has ever fled the approach of the white man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun ... It matters little where we pass the remnants of our days. They will not be many.
But why should I mourn the untimely fate of my people? Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the white man, whose God walked and talked with him as friend with friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers, after all. We will see ...
Chief Seattle - Suqwamish & Duwamish

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 - Suqwamish & Duwamish

You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.
Cochise ("Like Ironweed") - Chiricahua Chief

"We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. But you have come here, you are taking my land from me, you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live.
Now, you tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them."
Crazy Horse - Sioux

the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn.. all things tell of Tirawa.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

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