We must relearn how to cry. A strong man cries; it is the weak man who holds back his tears.
– Archie Fire Lame Deer
I do not see a delegation for the Four Footed. I see no seat for the Eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. But we are, after all, a mere part of Creation. And we must consider to understand where we are. And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the Creation.
– Oren Lyons
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
I am but one man. I am the voice of my people. Whatever their hearts are, that I talk. I want no more war. I want to be a man. You deny me the right of a white man. My skin is red; my heart is a white man’s heart; but I am a Modoc. I am not afraid to die. I will not fall on the rocks. When I die, my enemies will be under me. Your soldiers began on me when I was asleep on Lost River. They drove us to these rocks, like a wounded deer…
I have always told the white man heretofore to come and settle in my country; that it was his country and Captain Jack’s country. That they could come and live there with me and that I was not mad with them. I have never received anything from anybody, only what I bought and paid for myself. I have always lived like a white man, and wanted to live so. I have always tried to live peaceably and never asked any man for anything. I have always lived on what I could kill and shoot with my gun, and catch in my trap.
– Captain Jack (Kintpuash)
I don’t want to run over the mountains anymore; I want to make a big treaty…I will keep my word until the stones melt…God made the white man and God made the Apache, and the Apache has just as much right to the country as the white man. I want to make a treaty that will last, so that both can travel over the country and have no trouble.
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.
– George Copway
The soldiers…forced us across the Niobrara…just as one would drive a herd of ponies…And so I reached the Warm Land [Oklahoma]. We found the land there was bad and we were dying, one after another, and…our animals died, and, oh, it was very hot. ‘This land is truly sickly…and we hope the Great Father will take us back [home] again.’ That is what we said. There were one hundred of us died there.
– White Eagle
I have never broken any of my treaties with the government. What does the President want to take my land away from me for? The President told me to work, and I have done it. He told me to not go on the warpath, even if the white men took away my horses and cattle, or killed my people. I promised I would not, and I have performed my promise. Although other people often move from place to place, yet I have always staid on our land. It is ours. My people have lived and died on this land as far back as we can remember. I have sown wheat and planted corn and have performed all my promises to the President. I have raised enough on my farm to support myself, and now it seems just as though the government were trying to drown me when he takes my land away from me. We have always been peaceful. The land is our own. We do not want to part with it. I have broken no treaties, and the President has no right to take it from me.
– White Eagle
Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings. It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet; to allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes; bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the Sky, putting it in and giving it out from the heart.
– Brooke Medicine Eagle
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.
All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. if it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing would grow – the earth would be without life. Yet the sun must have the help of the earth. If the sun alone were to act upon animals and plants, the heat would be so great and they would die, but there are clouds that bring rain, and the action of the sun and earth together supplies the moisture that is needed for life. The roots of a plant go down, and the deeper they go the more moisture they find. This is according to the laws of nature and is one of the evidences of the wisdom of Wakan Tanka.
You have put all our heads together and covered them with a blanket. That hill there is our wealth, but you have been asking it from us…You white people, you have all come in our reservation and helped yourselves to our property, and you are not satisfied, you went beyond to take the whole of our safe.
– Dead Eyes
Once 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 other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.