Before Europeans came to America, it is estimated that anywhere from 1.2 million to 12 million Native Americans inhabited the land. Their population, due to mass murder, genocide, imported diseases, slavery, and suicide, was then reduced to a staggering 250,000 — arguably the most devastating blow to any population of people in the history of the world. Yet, little to no attention is given to this tragedy. Why is that?
Not only were the Native American people killed, but many of their customs, traditions, and spiritual practices and beliefs were lost along with them. Perhaps this was another reason for the genocide? These people were truly connected and in tune with Mother Earth, and were often referred to as the Keepers of the Earth. They taught to “walk lightly upon the Earth and live in balance and harmony.” Maybe, if more Native Americans were alive today, the Earth wouldn’t be in as much turmoil as it is now. We can all benefit from adopting some of the ancient spiritual teachings from Native American elders into our daily lives.
10 Pieces Of Wisdom and Quotes From Native American Elders
“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
“The first piece, 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 Sioux
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
– Cree Indian Proverb
“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 envelop you, be still;
Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
-As it surely will.
Then act with courage.”
— Ponca Chief White Eagle, Go Forward With Courage
“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
“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
“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
“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore, among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent, or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to civilized property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.”
– John (Fire) Lame Deer, Sioux Lakota
“Oh 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
“Peace and happiness are available in every moment. Peace is every step. We shall walk hand in hand. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems. Remember: if the Creator put it there, it is in the right place. The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears. Tell your people that, since we were promised we should never be moved, we have been moved five times.”
– Anonymous Chief
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