Mother Earth and Environment

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Earth teach me quiet — as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering — as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility — as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring — as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage — as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation — as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom — as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance — as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal — as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself — as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness — as dry fields weep with rain.
— A Ute Prayer

I love the land of winding waters more than all the rest of the world. A man who would not love his father's grave is worse than a wild animal. — Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still — Flying Hawk, Oglala Lakota

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. — Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota

The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans; in my heart, he put other different desires. — Chief Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

One does not sell the land people walk on. — Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota

The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors. — Plenty Coups, Crow Principal Chief

Sell a country? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? — Tecumseh, Shawnee

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. —Chief Edward Moody, Nuxalk Nation

Mother Earth is not a resource, she is an heirloom. — David Ipina, Yurok

When a man does a piece of work which is admired by all we say that it is wonderful; but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, and the changing seasons upon the earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man. — Chased By Bears, Santee/Yanktonai Dakota

We know what the animals do, what are the needs of the beaver, the bear, the salmon, and other creatures, because long ago men married them and acquired this knowledge from their animal wives. Today the priests say we lie, but we know better. — unknown Wet’suwet’en First Nations tribal member

Our people know that the land and the language are one. If we lose one or the other we are no longer who we say we are. — Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance

Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. — Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota

Walk lightly in the spring; Mother Earth is pregnant. — Kiowa proverb

I have been to the end of the earth. I have been to the end of the waters. I have been to the end of the sky. I have been to the end of the mountains. I have found none that are not my friends. — Navajo wisdom

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. — Geronimo, Chiricahua Apache

We walk in our moccasins upon the Earth
And beneath the sky
As we travel on life's path of beauty
We will live a good life and reach old age.
— Navajo blessing

South Dakota State University researchers are helping the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe revive its bison production. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

South Dakota State University researchers are helping the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe revive its bison production.

The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies. — Mary Brave Bird, Brule Lakota

When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. — Arapaho proverb

The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. — Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota

Indians living close to nature and nature's ruler are not living in darkness. — Chief Walking Buffalo, Nakota

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. — Black Elk, Oglala Lakota

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild.’ Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was the land 'infested' with 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with blessings of the Great Mystery. — Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
— Cree Prophecy

Lightning over Bear Butte in South Dakota at dusk.

Lightning over Bear Butte in South Dakota at dusk.

Together we can end the holocaust against the environment. — Haida Gwaiil Traditional Circle of Elders