Native American Quotes

Quotes tagged as "native-american" Showing 1-30 of 269
Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Black Elk
“The Holy Land is everywhere”
Black Elk

Luther Standing Bear
“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life - that to the white man is an 'unbroken wilderness.'

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.

But we were wise. We knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear

Vine Deloria Jr.
“Never has America lost a war ... But name, if you can, the last peace the United States won. Victory yes, but this country has never made a successful peace because peace requires exchanging ideas, concepts, thoughts, and recognizing the fact that two distinct systems of life can exist together without conflict. Consider how quickly America seems to be facing its allies of one war as new enemies.”
Vine Deloria Jr., Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto

Sherman Alexie
“Coyote, who is the creator of all of us, was sitting on his cloud the day after he created Indians. Now, he liked the Indians, liked what they were doing. This is good, he kept saying to himself. But he was bored. He thought and thought about what he should make next in the world. But he couldn't think of anything so he decided to clip his toenails. ... He looked around and around his cloud for somewhere to throw away his clippings. But he couldn't find anywhere and he got mad. He started jumping up and down because he was so mad. Then he accidentally dropped his toenail clippings over the side of the cloud and they fell to the earth. They clippings burrowed into teh ground like seeds and grew up to be white man. Coyote, he looked down at his newest creation and said, "Oh, shit.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Sherman Alexie
“They're all gone, my tribe is gone. Those blankets they gave us, infected with smallpox, have killed us. I'm the last, the very last, and I'm sick, too. So very sick. Hot. My fever burning so hot.
I have to take off my clothes, feel the cold air, splash water across my bare skin. And dance. I'll dance a Ghost Dance. I'll bring them back. Can you hear the drums? I can hear them, and it's my grandfather and grandmother singing. Can you hear them?
I dance one step and my sister rises from the ash. I dance another and a buffalo crashes down from the sky onto a log cabin in Nebraska. With every step, an Indian rises. With every other step, a buffalo falls.
I'm growing, too. My blisters heal, my muscles stretch, expand. My tribe dances behind me. At first they are no bigger than children. Then they begin to grow, larger than me, larger than the trees around us. The buffalo come to join us and their hooves shake the earth, knock all the white people from their beds, send their plates crashing to the floor.
We dance in circles growing larger and larger until we are standing on the shore, watching all the ships returning to Europe. All the white hands are waving good-bye and we continue to dance, dance until the ships fall off the horizon, dance until we are so tall and strong that the sun is nearly jealous. We dance that way.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Luis Valdez
“No Statue of Liberty ever greeted our arrival in this country...we did not, in fact, come to the United States at all. The United States came to us.”
Luis Valdez

Wilma Mankiller
“Though many non-Native Americans have learned very little about us, over time we have had to learn everything about them. We watch their films, read their literature, worship in their churches, and attend their schools. Every third-grade student in the United States is presented with the concept of Europeans discovering America as a "New World" with fertile soil, abundant gifts of nature, and glorious mountains and rivers. Only the most enlightened teachers will explain that this world certainly wasn't new to the millions of indigenous people who already lived here when Columbus arrived.”
Wilma Mankiller, Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women

Luther Standing Bear
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them... The animals had rights - the right of man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear

Russell Means
“When a woman grabs my braids and says "How cute!" I crab her breast and say "How cute!" She never touches me again!”
Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means

Chief Seattle
“Like a man who has been dying for many days, a man in your city is numb to the stench.”
Chief Seattle

Sherman Alexie
“Yes, I am Irish and Indian, which would be the coolest blend in the world if my parents were around to teach me how to be Irish and Indian. But they're not here and haven't been for years, so I'm not really Irish or Indian. I am a blank sky, a human solar eclipse.”
Sherman Alexie, Flight

Charles Alexander Eastman
“The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for difficult or dangerous service and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: "Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor. Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone!. What is Silence? It is the Great Mystery! The Holy Silence is His voice!”
Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa) Eastman, The Soul of the Indian

Wilma Mankiller
“A significant number of people believe tribal people still live and dress as they did 300 years ago. During my tenure as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, national news agencies requesting interviews sometimes asked if they could film a tribal dance or if I would wear traditional tribal clothing for the interview. I doubt they asked the president of the United States to dress like a pilgrim for an interview.”
Wilma Mankiller

Russell Means
“If I want my people to be free, Americans have to be free. ”
Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means

“We didn't have last names before they came. When they decided they needed to keep track of us, last names were given to us, just like the name "INDIAN" itself was given to us. These were attempted translations and botched Indian names, random surnames, and names passed down from white American generals, admirals, and colonels, and sometimes troop names, which were sometimes just colors.”
Tommy Orange, There There

Russell Means
“Tourists came around and looked into our tipis. That those were the homes we choose to live in didn`t bother them at all. The untied the door, opened the flap, and barged right in, touching our things, poking through our bedrolls, inspecting everything. It boggles my mind that tourists feel they have the god-given right to intrude everywhere.”
Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means

N. Scott Momaday
“They have assumed the names and gestures of their enemies, but have held on to their own, secret souls; and in this there is a resistance and an overcoming, a long outwaiting.”
N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Children, language, lands: almost everything was stripped away, stolen when you weren’t looking because you were trying to stay alive. In the face of such loss, one thing our people could not surrender was the meaning of land. In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us. Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity, so it could never be bought or sold. These are the meanings people took with them when they were forced from their ancient homelands to new places.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

“I have learned that the point of life's walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart.”
Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

“The most beautiful thing in the world is a heart that is changing.”
Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

Sherman Alexie
“I got in a fight with my girlfriend," I said. "I was just driving around, blowing off steam, you know?"
Well, you should be more careful where you drive," the officer said. "You're making people nervous. You don't fit the profile of the neighborhood."
I wanted to tell him that I didn't fit the profile of the country but I knew it would just get me into trouble.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

“Peace of mind is the meaning of life" -Talisa Santiago (Spirit Seeker)”
Jamie Haden, Spirit Seeker

“Our job is to be an awake people...utterly conscious, to attend to our world.”
Louis Owens

Ben Nighthorse Campbell
“There is but one secret to success: never give up.”
Ben Nighthorse Campbell

“Attending to your own words and ideas as well as those of others is an admirable trait in any person, but a necessity in a leader.”
Jennifer Frick-Ruppert, Spirit Quest

G.G.  Collins
“Allow the power to flow through you. Don’t try to capture it. You wish only to borrow it.”
G.G. Collins, Reluctant Medium

“No man is as wise as Mother Earth. She has witnessed every human day, every human struggle, every human pain, and every human joy. For maladies of both body and spirit, the wise ones of old pointed man to the hills. For man too is of the dust and Mother Earth stands ready to nurture and heal her children.”
Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

“Life is a walking, a journey. So, if life upon Mother Earth is a journey, there are two ways to walk. We can choose to walk forward or we can choose to walk backward. Forward Walking choices are rewarded with consequences that light the way to peace, happiness, joy, comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. Backward Walking choices bring to the Two-Legged beings consequences of misery despair, and darkness.”
Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

“The success of my journey depended on whether my heart walked forward—toward my people—instead of backward, away from them.”
Anasazi Foundation, The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World

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