2 of Native American Wisdom
There are many things to be
shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our
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
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.
careful when speaking. You create the world
around you with your words.
The people who are living on this planet need to
break with the narrow
concept of human liberation, and begin to see liberation as
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
with children who were taught to sit still and enjoy it. They were taught to use their organs of smell, to look where there
apparently nothing to see, and to listen intently when all
quiet. A child who cannot sit still is a half-developed
Luther Standing Bear
step you take should be a prayer. And if every step you take is a
then you will always be walking in a sacred manner.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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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
be a steward of the Earth;
Caretakers for all that dwells upon it;
To be of one heart with all things.
to share the
tears of every living thing,
To feel in our hearts the pain
of the wounded animal,
each crushed blade of grass;
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
|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
binding all in one social, honorable compact.
George Copway (Kah-ge-ga-bowh)
people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that
face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road
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
native people have traveled and are now seeking again?
The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still
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
chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest,
our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.
2 of Native American Wisdom
|Once you have heard
the meadowlark and caught the scent of fresh-plowed earth,
peace cannot escape you.
the breath of the new dawn and
make it part of you. It will give you strength.
Everywhere is the
center of the world.
Everything is sacred.
|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
beyond the street light to catch the enchantment of a night sky
with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great
making, it's easy for them to forget his laws.
was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be
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.
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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
do not force their way with great strife.
Flowers open to
perfection slowly in the sun. . . .
Don't be in a hurry about
Go step by step, and be very sure.
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.
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.
on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it,
and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of
2 of Native American Wisdom