Whenever the white man treats an Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike -- brothers of one father and one mother, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land, and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers' hands from the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race are waiting and praying. I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.
[North American Review, April 1879]
The Great Spirit made us all -- he made my skin red, and yours white; he placed us on this earth, and intended that we should live differently from each other.
He made the whites to cultivate the earth, and feed on domestic animals; he made us, redskins, to rove through the uncultivated woods and plains; to feed on wild animals; and to dress with their skins. He also intended that we should go to war -- to take scalps -- steal horses from and triumph over our enemies -- cultivate peace at home, and promote the happiness of each other.
I believe there are no people of any colour on this earth who do not believe in the Great Spirit -- in rewards, and in punishments. We worship him, but we worship him not as you do. We differ from you in appearance and manners as well as in our customs; and we differ from you in our religion; we have no large houses as you have to worship the Great Spirit in; if we had them today, we should want others tomorrow, for we have not, like you, a fixed habitation -- we have no settled home except our villages, where we remain but two moons in twelve.
We, like animals, rove through the country, whilst you whites reside between us and heaven; but still my Great Father [President James Monroe], we love the Great Spirit -- we acknowledge his supreme power -- our peace, our health, and our happiness depend upon him, and our lives belong to him -- he made us and he can destroy us.
[Katharine C. Turner. Red Men calling on the Great White Father. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1951.]
speaking of himself in the third person,
That was the last the sun shone on Black Hawk [referring to his defeat in battle]. His heart is dead, and no longer beats quick in his bosom. He is now a prisoner to the white men; they will do with him as they wish. But he can stand torture, and is not afraid of death. He is no coward. Black Hawk is an Indian.
He has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his countrymen, against the white men who came, year after year, to cheat them and take away their lands. You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. The white men despise the Indians and drive them back from their homes. But the Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian, and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies. Indians do not steal. An Indian who is as bad as a white man could not live in our nation. He would be put to death and eaten by the wolves.
The white men are bad schoolmasters. They smile in the face of the poor Indian, to cheat him; they shake him by the hand to gain his confidence, to make him drunk, and to deceive him. We told them to let us alone, and keep away from us; but they followed on, and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us, like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe; we lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars; all talkers and no workers.
[First Speech. Hon. Perry S. Armstrong. The Sauks and the Black Hawk War. H.W. Rokker, Springfield Ill., 1887.]
Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.
Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tombs and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return.
Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender, fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the Happy Hunting Grounds to visit, console, and comfort them. [for more]
You call the Great Spirit Jesus in your language; we call him in the Crow language E-so-we-wat-se. I am going to light the pipe and talk to the Great Spirit. (He lighted the pipe, and, looking up reverently, said:) The Great Spirit has made the red man and the white man, and sees all before Him today. Have pity upon us! May the white man and the Indian speak truth to each other today. The sun that looks down upon us today, and gives us light and heat, sees that our hearts are true, and that what we do is good for the poor red man. The moon, that shines on us in the night time, will see us prosper and do well. The earth, on which we walk, from which we come, and which we love as our mother -- which we love as our country -- we ask Thee to see that we do that which is good for us and our children. This tobacco comes from the whites; we mix it with bark from the Indian trees and burn it together before Thee, O Great Spirit! So may our hearts and the hearts of the white men go out together to Thee and be made good and right.
[Report of Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1873]
In the 1850s, Mormon missionaries tried to teach Washakie's Shoshone tribesmen religion, but the elders resisted, demanding rather that the white men bring them food, tools, and ammunition. Washakie's response was recorded in the following translation:
You are all fools, you are blind, and cannot see; you have no ears, for you do not hear; The great Mormon captain has talked with our Father above the clouds, and He told the Mormon captain to send these men here to tell us the truth and not a lie.
They have not got forked tongues. They talk straight, with one tongue, and tell us that after a few more snows the buffalo will be gone, and if we do not learn some other way to get something to eat, we will starve to death.
Now, we know that is the truth, for this country was once covered with buffalo, elk, deer and antelope, and we had plenty to eat, and also robes for bedding, and to make lodges. But now, since the white man has made a road across our land, and has killed off our game, we are hungry, and there is nothing for us to eat. Our women and children cry for food and we have no food to give them.
The time was when our Father, who lives above the clouds, loved our fathers. His face shone upon them, and their skins were white like the white man's. Then they were wise and wrote books, and the Great Father talked good to them; but after a while our people would not hear Him, and they quarreled and stole and fought, until the Great Father got mad, because His children would not hear Him talk.
Then He turned His face away from them, and He turned His back to them, and that caused a shade to come over them, and that is why our skin is black and our minds dark. That darkness came because the Great Father's back was toward us, and now we cannot see as the white man sees. We can make a bow and arrow, but the white man's mind is strong and light.
The white man can make this (picking up a Colt's revolver), and a little thing that he carries in his pocket, so that he can tell where the sun is on a dark day, and when it is night he can tell when it will come daylight. This is because the face of the Father is toward him, and His back is towards us. But after a while the Great Father will quit being mad, and will turn his face towards us. Then our skin will be light.
Virginia Cole Trenholm and Maurine Carley. The Shoshones: Sentinels of the Rockies. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1964.]
Do you call yourselves Christians? Does then the religion of Him whom you call your Savior inspire your spirit, and guide your practices? Surely not. It is recorded of him that a bruised reed he never broke. Cease, then, to call yourselves Christians, lest you declare to the world your hypocrisy. Cease, too, to call other nations savage, when you are tenfold more the children of cruelty than they.
( from "A Cherokee Feast of Days," by Joyce Sequichie Hifler )
We ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love.
A link to a native prophecy of Kate Luckie, Wintu shaman or *natural doctor* and her prophetic warnings concerning environmental rapacity, the down side of the invasion of European empire-builders to northern Califonia.
The soreness of the land
strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual
existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace.
[Werner von Braun]