When I was beginning to think of what I might post for my December blog, the month of Christmas and Chanukah, I happened upon an old post on the website of fellow Wild Rose Press author, Beth Trissel. It struck me immediately—old American Indian sayings that were far more spiritual than any Christmas card I’ve ever received. I asked Beth if she would consent to reposting this piece here on my website and, happily, she consented.
Beth lives with her husband on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and many animals. She is the author of The Native American Warrior series: Red Bird’s Song, Through the Fire, The Bearwalker’s Daughter, Kira, Daughter of the Moon, a short story The Lady and the Warrior. and colonial American Christmas romance novella A Warrior for Christmas. She also writes paranormal romance as well as nonfiction about gardening, herbal lore, and country life.
Thanks for inviting me to repost my Native American sayings on your lovely blog, Andrea. I’ve collected these quotes over the years and am a huge fan of American Indians, with a particular interest in Eastern woodland tribes, especially the Shawnee. My early American ancestors had interactions with this tribe. Some were killed and taken captive during the French and Indian war and other conflicts. The events recorded in old annals inspired the first novel I ever wrote, award-winning historical romance novel, Red Bird’s Song. The outstanding hero in that story, Wicomechee, is based on an actual Shawnee warrior to whom I have family ties. There’s more on the real Wicomechee at the end of the novel as a perk for readers. The events behind many of my novels are based on research and family genealogy. Now, back to the quotes. I hope your readers appreciate them:
“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 Indian Proverb
“Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.” ~Old Indian saying
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. We are a part of the earth and it is part of us.” ~Chief Seattle, Duwamish
“Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.” ~Hopi
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find money cannot be eaten.–Cree Prophecy
“May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there. May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows, and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.” ~ Cherokee Prayer Blessing
“Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun.” ~ Lakota Prayer
“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
“O’ Great Spirit, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.” ~ Cherokee Prayer
“We 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 trees.” ~ Qwatsinas, Nuxalk Nation
“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
“The Great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us….” ~Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin
“Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun. Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, ‘Never! Never!’” ~The Great Chief Tecumseh~ Shawnee (My absolute favorite chief)
“When 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.” ~Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725
“From Wakan-Tanka, the Great Mystery, comes all power. It is from Wakan-Tanka that the holy man has wisdom and the power to heal and make holy charms. Man knows that all healing plants are given by Wakan-Tanka; therefore they are holy. So too is the buffalo holy, because it is the gift of Wakan-Tanka.” – Flat-Iron (Maza Blaska) Oglala Sioux Chief
“When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.” ~ Chief Seattle, Duwamish
“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–Head of the Circle–Lakota Sioux
“I will follow the white man’s trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children, and their children. The Great Spirit has shown me – a day will come when they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.”~ Many Horses, Oglala Lakota
“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
you will not know them, and what you do not know
you will fear. What one fears one destroys.” ~Chief Dan George, author, poet and actor, Tsleil Waututh
Beth has very kindly agreed to give away 3 digital copies of Red Bird’s Song, either pdf or kindle, to selected readers leaving a comment. The winners are Alice Trego, Jo Ricker and Dee Thomas. Happy reading to you all and thanks to Beth for her generosity.