Wisdom

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Hold on to what is good,
Even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I'll be gone away from you.
— Pueblo Prayer

Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins. – Cheyenne

Love one another and do not strive for another's undoing. — Handsome Lake, Seneca

So we are connected to the moon. That gives us power—a connection to the Earth and the moon—that men don't know about. — Cecilia Mitchell, Mohawk

Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark. – Cheyenne proverb

In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn: all things tell of Tirawa. — Pawnee tradition (as told by Chief White Eagle)

A people is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground. — Cheyenne proverb

Where no one intrudes, many can live in harmony. — Chief Dan George, Squamish

We all come from the same root, but the leaves are all different. — John Fire Lame Deer, Lakota

Do not wrong or hate your neighbor for it is not he that you wrong but yourself. — Pima wisdom

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. — Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota

My children, education is the ladder to all our needs. Tell our people to take it. — Manuelito, Navajo

Our true enemies, as well as our true sources of strength, lie within. — Willaru Huayta, Quechua

Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children. — Chief Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

To me, the wisdom the Elders have to manifest is in teaching people how to live in harmony and balance with each other and the earth. — Sun Bear, Chippewa

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. — Chief Seattle, Duwamish

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelope you, be still; be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists—as it surely will. Then act with courage. — Chief White Eagle, Pawnee

Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself. — Hopi proverb

We must return to the level of trust our ancestors had with their children. — David Wilkins, Lumbee

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. — Chief Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

The white man goes into his church house and talks about Jesus, but the Indian goes into his tipi and talks to Jesus. — Quanah Parker, Comanche

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 growing and dying of the moon reminds us of our ignorance which comes and goes—but when the moon is full it is as if the Great Spirit were upon the whole world. — Black Elk, Oglala Lakota

A grandfather talking to his young grandson tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred. 'Which wolf will win, grandfather?' asks the young boy. 'Whichever one I feed,' is the reply. — Cherokee wisdom

There is no greater honor than being under the guidance of the Great Spirit. — Nakotah LaRance, Hopi/Tewa/Assiniboine

We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. It teaches us to be thankful, to be united, and to love one another! We never quarrel about religion. — Red Jacket, Seneca

Winter solstice at midday in the Arctic.

Winter solstice at midday in the Arctic.

How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the earth, you killed him, the son of your own God, you nailed him up! You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. And only after you thought you killed him did you worship him, and start killing those who would not worship him. What kind of a people is this for us to trust? — Tecumseh, Shawnee

The hearts of little children are pure, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss. — Black Elk, Oglala Lakota

May the stars carry your sadness away. May the flowers fill your heart with beauty. May hope forever wipe away your tears. And, above all, may silence make you strong. — Chief Dan George, Squamish

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

Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country? God made me an Indian. — Chief Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking. — Black Elk, Oglala Lakota

You ask me to plow the ground. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest.
You ask me to dig for stones! Shall I dig under her skin for bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again.
You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it and be rich like white men, but how dare I cut my mother's hair?
I want my people to stay with me here. All the dead men will come to life again. Their spirits will come to their bodies again. We must wait here in the homes of our fathers and be ready to meet them in the bosom of our mother. — Wavoka, Paiute

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, Squamish

We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have for our land, we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go, to let it go it will be like throwing away (our) mother that gave (us) birth. — Aitooweyah, Cherokee

It was supposed that lost spirits were roving about everywhere in the invisible air, waiting for children to find them if they searched long and patiently enough. [The spirit] sang its spiritual song for the child to memorize and use when calling upon the spirit guardian as an adult. — Mourning Dove, Salish

My lands are where my dead lie buried. — Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota

Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they strike their mark. Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim. — Chickahominy proverb

My people understand that you children are sacred. You are precious. You are our future. Your elders, parents and teachers need to teach you well so that you can help them when they are old. Listen to what they are teaching you so you will know what to do when you are in charge. — Wallace Black Elk, Lakota

The gray wolf, once numbering just a few hundred, has rebounded enough to be taken off the federal Endangered Species List.

The gray wolf.