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Second World Quotes

"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."

-Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

"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, Salish

When your time comes 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 Aupaumut, Mohican

"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows. We are poor..but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die...we die defending our rights."
-Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux

Being Indian is mainly in your heart. It's a way of walking with the earth instead of upon it. A lot of the history books talk about us Indians in the past tense, but we don't plan on going anywhere... We have lost so much, but the thing that holds us together is that we all belong to and are protectors of the earth; that's the reason for us being here. Mother Earth is not a resource, she is an heirloom.

-David Ipinia, Yurok Artist, Sacramento, CA

A Nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong its weapons.


Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.


With all things and in all things, we are relatives.


To All Native Peoples

Mankind 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 his heart 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

Peace and happiness are available in every moment. Peace is every step. We shall walk hand in hand. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems. Remember: If the Creator put it there, it is in the right place. The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.


The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged....

-Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux

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 (Makhpiya-luta)

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 were no enclosures, and where everything drew a free breath...I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted over that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.

-Ten Bears, Yamparethka Comanche chief

You say: Why do not the Indians till the ground and live as we do? May we not ask, why the white people do not hunt and live as we do?

-Corn Tassel, Cherokee

I have a little boy... If he is not dead, tell him the last words of his father were that he must never go beyond the Father of Waters, but die in the land of his birth. It is sweet to die in one's native land and be buried by the margins of one's native stream.

-Tsali, Cherokee shaman (awaiting execution)

It is not necessary for eagles to be crows.

-Chief Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux

When the last red man shall have become a myth among the white men, when your children' s children think themselves alone in the field, upon the highway or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities are silent, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone.

-Chief Seattle

Return to my fire