You must become the rock the river cannot wash away.
Speak your voice.
~TO WALK THE RED ROAD~
"Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
must ask permission to know it and be known."
'I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again saying, 'here.'
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, you are surely lost.
The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.
Here, also, were a great many Indians.
What I am I must become
What I see I must try to find
What I hear I must play music to
What I touch I must leave alone
I turn then to all reflections of myself
In trees and sacred things
That nature gives to me
This was our land.
The land that the mountain needed in order
To raise in majesty.
The land my people needed in order
To roam its secrets in reverence.
This land was the land
Of our great waters
The beating heart of nature flowing through time
That we could not remember.
This was our land.
The land that provided everything good for my people.
The land was always our land
And the sun set upon it
The rain washed it
And the fire was kind in its fury.
It was so for all time.
Then the land was taken from us.
It is your land.
Do you know how to speak to the land, my brother?
Do you listen to what it tells you?
Can you keep its secrets to yourself?>
Sell the land, my brother?
You might as well sell
The sun, the moon, the stars.
I have killed the deer.
I have crushed the grasshopper.
And the plants he feeds upon.
I have taken fish from the water.
And birds from the sky.
In my life I have needed death
So that my life can be.
When I die I must give life
To what has nourished me.
The earth receives my body
And gives it to the plants
And to the caterpillars
To the birds
And to the coyotes
Each in its own turn so that
The circle of life is never broken.
My father's face is in the rock on the
mountain; the rock to which I turn
and all sons turn to see the face of all our
fathers on the mountain.
The voice of my father is on the wind
and my voice also when it becomes strong
for only my sons to hear and keep on hearing after I am gone.
To fly higher than the eagle, to run faster
than the deer, to swim as freely as the
fish, to have the cunning of the coyote
and the sleekness of the lion - this is to
possess the spirit that sings in the wind
and cries in the fire, the spirit that shall never leave my home.
My help is in the mountain
(this poem we removed at the request of the Nancy Wood Trust. It can be seen at: www.nancywood.com)
Let us move evenly together.
Let us stand as one.
Let evil be cast from us.
Let no man cry for himself
Or listen to those without faces.
Let us move evenly together.
Let us walk as tall trees.
Let fear be crushed within us.
Let no man speak for himself
Or give secrets to those without blood.
We shall live together;
We shall walk with you;
We shall find in each new day what hides inside of you,
We shall wait together;
We shall see the day when we go hand in hand.
To the fire in the mountain,
To the water in the sand.
There is no music either.
I went to learn how the white man lives.
I went to learn if he's free.
I went to learn the white man's ways
But I found them a stranger to me.
Shall I teach you, my brother?
Shall I teach you the Indian way?
Listen, my brother.
My words are those of dead generations
And of generations still to be.
My words I give to you.
The meaning is for you to find.
How should I live?
Among my people a small voice?
In your world silent?
Among my people there is no horizon.
In your world I have seen
Shall I teach you to live and to see?
The universe contained in glass.
You tell us that times are changing.
You say that we do not know
The times in which we live.
We say to you that this time is like any other time
If a man's feet are on the ground
And his heart is in the right place
And he does not try to make
The eagle into an airplane.
What is there for me when I have finished planting?
What is there for me at the end of the row I must hoe?
What is there for me when the harvest is over?
That is all.
Pieces of sun on the lake of my spirits;
Pieces of sun on waters of eagle and hawk;
Pieces of sun lie broken on the waters of the lake
From which come the voice to all my singing,
the eyes to all my beauty,
the peace to all my longing.
Above all is the long-living spirit which is the thread
from generation to generation,
as long as the land we live on is everlasting
and our children have a place to lie down.
All as it was, love.
All as it was, beauty.
All as it was, order.
All as it was, in exactly the right place.
This place of the sun trail
The buffalo-grass plain
The hummingbird spring
The grass hat
The frog mesa
And the Big House in the lake where good spirits live.
This place of my people
This place of my grandsons still unborn.
All as it was, peace.
Everything good is to be found here.
Everything good is to be kept here.
My brother the star, my mother the earth
my father the sun, my sister the moon,
to my life give beauty, to my
body give strength, to my corn give
goodness, to my house give peace, to
my spirit give truth, to my elders give
My horse took me down the life-giving road
Drawing his breath of strong spirit
His breath of power to plow and to pull.
But now he is old
And his breath is of feathers and corn.
I add to his breath
The breath of my own
And pray to his old age of riches.
Every morning I walk to the tent of the mountain.
I stand secure.
I am in peace.
The wind comes.
There the breath of the mountain telling me the path to take.
I am gone and am going to the mountain so that
I may see the lightening break the sky in two and rain come to heal it up again.
I come to the place where I have stepped before.
The wind blows my steps away in the dust.
The steps of all who walk here go with the wind and walk with the sky.
Up here is quiet. My feet are quiet.
My hands are quiet.
My eyes are also quiet.
They see a bird flying quiet,
a tree blow- ing quiet,
a moon rising quiet.
Only my soul is not quiet.
My soul does not rest until the corn is planted.
There is an eagle in me and a spotted bird hurrying corn to grow
. The eagle flies to the mountains of my dreams,
flies to the corners of my distant hopes.
But the spotted bird stands among the cornstalks telling me to hoe.
My hands are the tools of my soul.
They make the drum,
and stretch the skin of the deer.
They work the earth and care for the sheep and plant the corn.
They greet my homeland each morning that I awake.
Mountain of discontent.
Mountain of talking gods And cold fire.
Mountain of dry bones And silent ashes I cry to your empty womb.
Where is your comfort In this time for staying still?
I lay on the rock in the stream Long enough
so that what was not good in me washed down and away,
gone from my body forever.
When trouble comes to me
I have to dance until the dust receives my trouble.
The dust takes my trouble to the mountain.
The mountain grows with the dust of trouble.
The place for my trouble to be.
My feet touch earth and dance to the drums which are in my heart as well.
If my feet do not touch earth the dance will not be good.
And the music in my heart will all be still.
Native American Wisdom
"Those that lie down with dogs, get up with fleas." Blackfoot
"Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way." Blackfoot
"When a fox walks lame, the old rabbit jumps." Oklahoma
"A starving man will eat with the wolf." Oklahoma
"The moon is not shamed by the barking of dogs." Southwest
"Even a small mouse has anger." tribe unknown
"Make my enemy brave and strong, so that if defeated, I will not be ashamed." Plains
"Not every sweet root gives birth to sweet grass." tribe unknown
"The coward shoots with eyes." Oklahoma
"If a man is to do something more than human, he must have more than human powers." tribe unknown
"If you raindance... You will get your teepee wet."
"Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand."
"Tell the truth always even if it is bitter to taste."
"If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both."
"The Great Spirit gave you two ears and only one mouth, so you can talk half as much as you listen."
"If you take [a copy of] the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind."
"Each bird loves to hear himself sing." Arapaho
"All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them." Arapaho
"If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come" Arapaho
There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled, which leads to an unknown, secret place.
Do not lead me,
For I may not always follow.
Do not follow me,
For I may not always lead.
Lets walk our paths together,
As brothers, friends forever as one.
ah tey wa chee un kink tay
"...and, again I will see You"
It is less of a problem to be poor, than to be dishonest. Anishnabe
What the people believe is true. Anishnabe
It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. Apache
Each bird loves to hear himself sing. Arapaho
All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them. Arapaho
Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it. Arapaho
Before eating, always take time to thank the food. Arapaho
When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. Arapaho
If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come. Arapaho
Most of us do not look as handsome to others as we do to ourselves. Assiniboine
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, he world cries and you rejoice. Cherokee
Don't let yesterday use up too much of today. Cherokee
The weakness of the enemy makes our strength. Cherokee
A good soldier is a poor scout. Cheyenne
If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove. Cheyenne
Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark. Cheyenne
Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins. Cheyenne
A danger foreseen is half-avoided. Cheyenne Our first teacher is our own heart. Cheyenne
All who have died are equal. Comanche
One rain does not make a crop. Creole
There is no death, only a change of worlds. Duwamish
Day and night cannot dwell together. Duwamish
In age, talk; in childhood, tears. Hopi One finger cannot lift a pebble. Hopi
All dreams spin out from the same web. Hopi
The one who tells the stories rules the world. Hopi
The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Hopi
Don't be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts. Hopi
Wisdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start living the life the Creator intended for you. Hopi
The rainbow is a sign from Him who is in all things. Hopi
A brave man dies but once, a coward many times. Iowa
Walk lightly in the spring; Mother Earth is pregnant. Kiowa
When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard. Lakota
Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance. Lakota
Many have fallen with the bottle in their hand. Lakota
Everything the power does, it does in a circle. Lakota
A man or woman with many children has many homes. Lakota Sioux
Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, Wisdom is of the future. Lumbee
Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something. Maricopa
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Minquass
A good chief gives, he does not take. Mohawk
Remember that your children are not your own, but are lent to you by the Creator. Mohawk
Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your Mother and all things as your Brothers and Sisters. Native American
The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears. Native American
Coyote is always out there waiting, and Coyote is always hungry. Navajo
There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnakes tail. Navajo
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. Navajo
A rocky vineyard does not need a prayer, but a pick ax. Navajo
Every animal knows more than you do. Nez Percé
White men have too many chiefs. Nez Percé
To touch the earth is to have harmony with nature. Oglala Sioux
When a fox walks lame, the old rabbit jumps. Oklahoma
A starving man will eat with the wolf. Oklahoma
The coward shoots with shut eyes. Oklahoma
It is easy to be brave from a distance. Omaha
Ask questions from you heart and you will be answered from the heart. Omaha
A hungry stomach makes a short prayer. Paiute
Do not wrong or hate your neighbor for it is not he that you wrong but yourself. Pima
Cherish youth, but trust old age. Pueblo Sharing and giving are the ways of God. Sauk
We are all one child spinning through Mother Sky. Shawnee
Each person is his own judge. Shawnee
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. Shawnee - Chief Tecumseh
We are made from Mother Earth and we go back to Mother Earth. Shenandoah
It is no longer good enough to cry peace, we must act peace, live peace and live in peace. Shenandoah
There are many good moccasin tracks along the trail of a straight arrow. Sioux
With all things and in all things, we are relatives. Sioux
Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man. Sioux
The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. Sioux
A people without a history is like the wind over buffalo grass. Sioux
The moon is not shamed by the barking of dogs. Southwest
If a man is to do something more than human, he must have more than human powers. tribe unknown
The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears. tribe unknown
Even a small mouse has anger. tribe unknown
Not every sweet root give birth to sweet grass. tribe unknown
Man has responsibility, not power. Tuscarora
Those who have one foot in the canoe, and one foot in the boat, are going to fall into the river. Tuscarora
They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. Tuscarora
The way of the troublemaker is thorny. Umpqua God gives us each a song. Ute
A man must make his own arrows. Winnebago After dark all cats are leopards. Zuni
When you die, you will be spoken of as those in the sky, like the stars. Yurok
Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints. Chief Seattle