Best 329 quotes in «native american quotes» category

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    I'm not an Indian warrior chief. I'm not some demure little Indian woman healer talking spider this, spider that, am I? I'm not babbling about the four directions. Or the two-legged, four-legged, and winged. I'm talking like a twentieth-century Indian woman. Hell, a twenty-first century Indian, and you can't handle it, you wimp.

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    Implicitly or explicitly, the rhythms of our lives, the movement from season to season, the patterns of the winds, and the pulse of the tides all depend on the apparent motions of the sun and moon and stars. Yet most modern urban dwellers are only dimly aware of the night sky ― the stars and their myriad forms. They are only slightly more aware of the phases of the moon or the motions of the sun. Even those who take the daily horoscope seriously generally have a very poor notion of its connection with astronomical phenomena.

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    In Indian Country,” he says, “we have a different sense of time. I’m learning and you’re learning—and more will.

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    In our weeks of talk, movies and friendship, I watched as Wilma turned a medical ordeal into one more event in her life, but not its definition. I believe she was teaching me an intimate form of The Way. In her words: "Every day is a good day - because we are part of everything alive.

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    In our hurry of utilitarian progress, we have either forgotten the Indian altogether, or looked upon him only in a business point of view, as we do almost everything else; as a thriftless, treacherous, drunken fellow, who knows just enough to be troublesome, and who must be cajoled or forced into leaving his hunting-grounds for the occupation of very orderly and virtuous white people, who sell him gunpowder and whiskey, but send him now and then a missionary to teach him that it is wrong to get drunk and murder his neighbor.

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    In the Western tradition there is a recognized hierarchy of beings, with, of course, the human being on top—the pinnacle of evolution, the darling of Creation—and the plants at the bottom. But in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as “the younger brothers of Creation.” We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn—we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance. Their wisdom is apparent in the way that they live. They teach us by example. They’ve been on the earth far longer than we have been, and have had time to figure things out.

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    Istagunga sought for the magic that ran beneath the soil like a network, each thread connecting all living things together. It was this immense power that held Iktomi's Web together...

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    In those days the Pimas always had plenty. The Papagos who lived in the desert south of us did not have a river like the Gila to water their fields, and their food was never plentiful. During the summer months, some of them would come to our village, with cactus syrup put up in little ollas, and salt, and we would give them beans and corn in exchange. The only salt we had came from the Papagos. At a certain time of the year they would go down to the ocean and get the salt from the shore where the tide left the water to dry. It was a kind of ceremony with them. They always felt that we gave them more than they could give us, although to get the salt they had walked hundreds of miles to the ocean and back. And so they would stay with us for a few days and help us harvest our wheat.

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    I speak of the Creator. Are you surprised by my candor? In a world that has killed the sacred, mention of it can seem shocking, even foolhardy. But how foolhardy it is to kill the sacred! And how shocking to think that we could! For there is always a light that walks forward.

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    I speak of the Creator. He has walked with me often in my journeys, and it has been by learning to walk with Him that I have learned to walk forward.

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    It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or who you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

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    It is not my province to show how brave it was for a great, strong nation to quell a riot caused by the dancing of a few 'bucks' – for civilized soldiers to slaughter indiscriminately, Indian women and children. Doubtless it was brave, for so public opinion tells us, and it cannot err.

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    I think you people are just marvelous,” she said in a dramatic manner, closing her eyes for a moment. “You know, sometimes I hear the Great Spirit calling to me. Perhaps I was a squaw in my last life. My family would never talk about it when I was growing up, but I’m pretty sure my great-grandmother was a real Cherokee princess. Are you Cherokee, by any chance?” “Cherokee to the bone, ma’am,” Luther replied, giving Jimmy a wink. “Oh, I knew it when I laid eyes on you,” she responded and turned to Jimmy. “Are you also Cherokee?” “No, ma’am. I wanted to be but I didn’t have the grades to get in.” “Oh, you poor dear,” the woman said, reaching over to pat him on the arm.

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    I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there are no enclosures and where everything drew a free breath. I want to die there and not within walls. I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and, like them, I lived happily. Para-Wa-Samen (Ten Bears) of the Tamparika Comanches

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    It is too often the case,” Crook said, “that border newspapers … disseminate all sorts of exaggerations and falsehoods about the Indians, which are copied in papers of high character and wide circulation, in other parts of the country, while the Indians’ side of the case is rarely ever heard. In this way the people at large get false ideas with reference to the matter. Then when the outbreak does come public attention is turned to the Indians, their crimes and atrocities are alone condemned, while the persons whose injustice has driven them to this course escape scot-free and are the loudest in their denunciations. No one knows this fact better than the Indian, therefore he is excusable in seeing no justice in a government which only punishes him, while it allows the white man to plunder him as he pleases.

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    It’s different when people who’ve been living under somebody’s boot hate the foot the boot’s on. An oppressed people can’t be racist. They can be bigots, but not racist. You have to have power to be a racist...

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    It's important he dress like an Indian, dance like an Indian, even if it is an act, even if he feels like a fraud the whole time, because the only way to be Indian in this world is to look and act like an Indian. To be or not to be Indian depends on it.

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    It's just me and James walking and walking except he's on my back and his eyes are looking past the people who are looking past us for the coyote of our soul and the wolverine of our heart and the crazy crazy man that touches every Indian who spends too much time alone.

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    It's not about Indians, it's about people... the overall philosophy is to reconnect all people to nature and inevitably themselves. - Larry Stillday

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    It takes Passion to bring a Vision to Life.

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    I will willingly abandon this miserable body to hunger and suffering, provided that my soul may have its ordinary nourishment.

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    I wish I had been more interested or learned sooner, but I didn’t , and now I must face the consequences.

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    Man's obsession with his own wants is taking him further from those without whom happiness cannot be found. It is taking him from his people.

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    Josephy visited several leading Manhattan bookstores and sadly discovered the explanation [from his agent] to be generally correct; books about Indians were shelved in the back of the stores alongside books about natural history, dinosaurs, plants, birds, and animals rather than being placed alongside biographies and histories of Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, and other great world cultures. Puzzled, Josephy began asking bookstore managers for a justification of this marketing tactic and was informed that Indian books had “just always been placed there.” The longer he pondered booksellers’ indifference toward Indians, the more annoyed Josephy became with the realization that bookstore marketing tactics were simply a reflection of the pervasive thinking throughout the United States in 1961: Americans believed Indians to be a vanished people. “Thinking about it made me angry,” Josephy wrote in his autobiography, “and I vowed that someday, some way, I would do something about this ignorant insult.

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    Like an unfinished symphony, her story played on my mind for most of my life. It would rock to the tune of the passage of time, an adagio of high notes, low notes an illusive movements. Then when I least expected it, I happened upon the missing notes in the life of Charlotte Howe Taylor.

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    Light chases away darkness.

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    Mackenzie, our profession courts death, madness is always just over the next rise, the next hillock…” Sherman’s voice dropped off, “I’m out in that landscape wavering between madness and sanity. Be careful Mackenzie you don’t cross over that rise and find yourself in the arid desert of madness … I fear it is this desert for me.

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    Many of these mixed-blood Indian people were eventually forced into hiding or denial of their Indian ancestry because of their fear of removal to the west by the United States Government.

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    Mother Earth has never been more crowded, yet her inhabitants have never been more lonely.

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    Minnie Spotted Wolf from Butte, Montana, was the first Native American to enlist in the Marine Corps Womens' Reserve. Spotted Wolf joined in 1943. She commented that Marine Corps boot camp was "hard, but not that hard.

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    Molly grabbed a vase off the mantel and flung it at the wall, knocking it into a painting of a mountain scene. The vase shattered and the picture frame swayed back and forth on the wall, taunting her with an image of what life was supposed to be like. . .

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    Modern man has lost the sense of wonder about the unknown and he treats it as an enemy.

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    Mni Wiconi means "water is life". It's a historical time in history, where we are facing something dire. Even with the assault on the water, the new hope is the miracle birth of the child.

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    Mother Earth reintroduced me to my people.

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    [My grandmother Mamie] used to say, 'Marion, if you don't feel right, if you don't feel good, just go outside. Take care of your flower bed and forget about everything else. If it's wintertime, go dig yourself a path in the snow whether you need it or not. You don't have to think too much to plant anything or scoop snow, and your mind can go back and figure out what's wrong.' I still take her advice to this day. (From Marion "Strong Medicine" Gould)

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    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.

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    Native peoples do not look for salvation from worlds beyond. They need no alternate reality, because the mortal world and the spirit world are the same. This Earth is heaven, hell and purgatory; but most importantly, it is home. The greatest of spiritual mysteries may be revealed just beyond the front door, in the life of a community.

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    No matter how hard I try to forget you, you always come back to my thoughts When you hear me singing I am really crying for you.

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    Nature doesn’t need knowledge, because nature is knowledge, knowledge manifest.

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    Nector [speaking to Bernadette] could have told her, having drunk down the words of Nanapush, that comfort is not security and money in the hand disappears. He could have told her that only the land matters and never to let go of the papers, the titles, the tracks of the words, all those things that his ancestors never understood how the vital relationship to the dirt and grass under their feet.

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    No, no, my friend. You are kind, and you mean well, but you can never understand these things as I do. You've never been oppressed.

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    No, not my spirit, just my ego, and my arms, and my chest, and my back, but luckily they are just bruised.” Squanto responded, “I fear you may not be so lucky.

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    Pulling back, like a savage carnivore at its prey, it tore a large chunk of meat rendering his left arm useless...regardless he did not require it for long.

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    Orvil mainly listens to powwow music. There's something in the energy of that big booming drum, in the intensity of the singing, like an urgency that feels specifically Indian. He likes the power the sound of a chorus of voices makes too, those high-pitched wailed harmonies, how you can't tell how many singers there are, and how sometimes it sounds like ten singers, sometimes like a hundred.

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    Phillip hardened his grip on Totka’s. “For all our manipulations, God always manages to get His way.” “A beautiful woman once told me our Jesus Creator is a good and wise chief, worthy of obedience without question. His plan is perfect. Wait, and you will see.

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    Pumpkin compote in a masa shell," she says. "It's a new recipe I'm going to try this week." "So, a pumpkin tamale? You know you can just call it a pumpkin tamale. Nobody's going to be impressed because you used some fancy words." Her mouth turns down. "Thank you for the editorial. Just try it." I take a bite. It's good. Better than I expected. The balance of cinnamon and nutmeg is perfect, a hint of allspice. And some ingredient I can't place. Almost... coppery? But it works.

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    Of an inanimate being, like a table, we say “What is it?” And we answer Dopwen yewe. Table it is. But of apple, we must say, “Who is that being?” And reply Mshimin yawe. Apple that being is. Yawe— the animate to be. I am, you are, s/he is. To speak of those possessed with life and spirit we must say yawe. By what linguistic confluence do Yahweh of the Old Testament and yawe of the New World both fall from the mouths of the reverent Isn’t this just what it means, to be, to have the breath of life within, to be the offspring of creation The language reminds us, in every sentence, of our kinship with all of the animate world.

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    On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9: 35 a.m., I am usually in a lecture hall at the university, expounding about botany and ecology— trying, in short, to explain to my students how Skywoman’s gardens, known by some as “global ecosystems,” function.

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    Our individual consciousnesses were sieves of the divine. We could only know what our minds could encompass safely.

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    She smirked and felt the familiar pain of her fangs elongating and piercing through her gums. She inhaled the night air deeply and smiled at the intoxicating aroma. Multiple scents hit her nose at once. They were thick and rich, mixed with booze and teenage pheromones. Her leather jacket fluttered slightly as a night breeze swept under it.