Native American Quotes
A collection of Native American quotes;
inspirational words of great Indian wisdom.

Native American Quotes
Painting of the death of Native American Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Nation.

"Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad.
From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."




Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. 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 the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.
William Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991

It is better to return a borrowed pot with a little something you last cooked in it.
Native American Proverb

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty." - Quotes by Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Native American Tribe

We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth, it is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood... we bid farewell to it and all we hold dear.
- Quotes by Charles Hicks, Tsalagi Cherokee Vice Chief
speaking of The Trail of Tears, Nov. 4, 1838

The Great Spirit Chief who rules above all will smile upon this land... and this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. - Quotes by Chief Joseph, Nez Perces

Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins.
- Native American Proverb

An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward.
- Quotes by Chief Joseph, Nez Perces Tribe

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I'll understand.
— Native American Proverb

I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.
- Quote by Geronimo, Chiracahua Apache Indian Tribe

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.
- Native American Indian Proverb

Some of you think an Indian is like a wild animal. This is a great mistake.
- Quotes by Native American Chief Joseph

The Indian race are waiting and praying.
- Quotes by Chief Joseph

The white people, who are trying to make us over into their image, they want us to be what they call "assimilated," bringing the Indians into the mainstream and destroying our own way of life and our own cultural patterns. They believe we should be contented like those whose concept of happiness is materialistic and greedy, which is very different from our way. We want freedom from the white man rather than to be intergrated. We don't want any part of the establishment, we want to be free to raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to be able to hunt and fish and live in peace. We don't want power, we don't want to be congressmen, or bankers... we want to be ourselves. We want to have our heritage, because we are the owners of this land and because we belong here.

The white man says, there is freedom and justice for all. We have had "freedom and justice," and that is why we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this.
- From the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians

Governor Isaac Stevens of the Washington Territory said there were a great many white people in our country, and many more would come; that he wanted the land marked out so that the Indians and the white man could be separated.
- Quotes by Chief Joseph

The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.
- Native American Quote

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 mighty band, binding all in one social, honorable compact.
- Quote by Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Tribe

Honor the sacred.
Honor the Earth, our Mother.
Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we
share the Earth:-
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds,
winged ones,
Swimmers, crawlers,
plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.
- Native American Elder

When the white man discovered this country Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on a system like this.
- Native American Indian Quote

Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your Mother and all things as your Brothers and Sisters.
- Native American Quote

When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.
- Quotes by Geronimo, Chiracahua Apache

In early days we were close to nature. We judged time, weather conditions, and many things by the elements- the good earth, the blue sky, the flying of geese, and the changing winds. We looked to these for guidance and answers. Our prayers and thanksgiving were said to the four winds- to the East, from whence the new day was born; to the South, which sent the warm breeze which gave a feeling of comfort; to the West, which ended the day and brought rest; and to the North, the Mother of winter whose sharp air awakened a time of preparation for the long days ahead. We lived by God's hand through nature and evaluated the changing winds to tell us or warn us of what was ahead.

Today we are again evaluating the changing winds. May we be strong in spirit and equal to our Fathers of another day in reading the signs accurately and interpreting them wisely. May Wah-Kon-Tah, the Great Spirit, look down upon us, guide us, inspire us, and give us courage and wisdom. Above all, may He look down upon us and be pleased.
The National Congress of American Indians in the mid 1960's
- Unknown Speaker

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
- Native American Quote


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