60 Native American Quotes, Sayings and Wisdom


The wisdom of the early tribes and indigenous groups are mirrored in our special collection of sixty Native American quotes and wise sayings. Having lived on this land before the coming of Christopher Columbus, their numbers are now dwindling. Help preserve their culture by getting to know these Native American quotes.


One does not sell the land people walk on. – Crazy Horse

I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself. – Shooter Teton Sioux

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 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

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. – Tecumseh Shawnee

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


How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right. – Black Hawk, Sauk

Day and night cannot dwell together. – Duwamish

Children learn from what they see. We need to set an example of truth and action. – Howard Rainer, Taos Pueblo-Creek

See Also: 30 Inspiring Quotes about Children – Children Quotes

We know our lands have now become more valuable. The white people think we do not know their value; but we know that the land is everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it are soon worn out and gone. – Canassatego


Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way. – Blackfoot

You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. – Navajo

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. – Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation


We do not want riches. We want peace and love. – Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Sioux

See Also: Peace Quotes – Peaceful Quotation

When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them. – Chief Seattle


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I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love. – Red Cloud(Makhpiya-luta)

This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things… This war has come from robbery – from the stealing of our land. – Spotted Tail


The weakness of the enemy makes our strength. – Cherokee

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. – Dakota

You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It’s the pursuit of the dream that heals you. – Billy Mills


See Also: 20 Wonderfully Inspiring Dream Quotes 

Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man. – Sioux

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


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I was hostile to the white man…We preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be let alone. Soldiers came…in the winter..and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They said we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape…but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. After that I lived in peace, but the government would not let me alone. I was not allowed to remain quiet. I was tired of fighting…They tried to confine me..and a soldier ran his bayonet into me. I have spoken. – Crazy Horse – Sioux

When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive. – Chief Seattle, Duwamish


A frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives. – American Indian proverb

Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss. – Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Sioux


It does not require many words to speak the truth. – Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts. – Hopi

It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. – Apache

Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand. – Tribe Unknown


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

See Also: 30 Best Knowledge Quotes

Those that lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. – Blackfoot

We always return to our first loves. – Tribe Unknown

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. – Blackfoot


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When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. – Cherokee

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

Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance. – Lakota

Our first teacher is our own heart. – Cheyenne


It is less of a problem to be poor, than to be dishonest. – Anishinabe

One finger cannot lift a pebble. – Hopi

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

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Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something. – Maricopa


All who have died are equal. – Comanche

Remember that your children are not your own, but are lent to you by the Creator. – Mohawk


All dreams spin out from the same web. – Hopi

He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone. – Seneca

Even a small mouse has anger. – Tribe Unknown

Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same. – Crow


You already possess everything necessary to become great. – Crow

There is no death, only a change of worlds. – Duwamish

See Also: 27+ Quotes About Death

If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove. – Cheyenne

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. – Tribe Unknown


The rainbow is a sign from Him who is in all things. – Hopi

When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard. – Lakota


Old age is not as honorable as death, but most people want it. – Crow

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. – Native American Proverb


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