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Chief YellowHawk's Prayer

O Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know the things you
have taught my people,
the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when life fades as a fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

Chief YellowHawk

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I hope the Great Heavenly Father, who will look down upon us, will give all the tribes His blessing, that we may go forth in peace, and live in peace all our days, and that He will look down upon our children and finally lift us far above the earth; and that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as His children, that all the tribes may be His children, and as we shake hands to-day upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace.

Red Cloud [Marpiya-Luta] (late 19th century) Oglala Sioux chief

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The life of an Indian is like the wings of the air. That is why you notice the hawk knows how to get his prey. The Indian is like that. The hawk swoops down on its prey; so does the Indian. In his lament he is like an animal. For instance, the coyote is sly; so is the Indian. The eagle is the same. That is why the Indian is always feathered up; he is a relative to the wings of the air.

Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man

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When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.

Geronimo [Goyathlay] (1829-1909) Chircahua Apache chief

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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 earch, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.

Chased-by-Bears (1843-1915) Santee-Yanktonai Sioux

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A warrior who had more than he needed would make a feast. He went around and invited the old and needy....The man who would thank the food--some worthy old medicine man or warrior--said: "...look to the old, they are worthy of old age; they have seen their days and proven themselves. With the help of the Great Spirit, they have attained a ripe old age. At this age the old can predict or give knowledge or wisdom, whatever it is; it is so. At the end is a cane. You and your family shall get to where the cane is."

Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man

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Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike...Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of the quiet.

Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man

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The first peace, which is the most important,

is that which comes from within the souls of people

when they realize that 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...

For, It is within each of us.

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There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of

Humanity in our common destiny as one...

with our Mother Earth. It is this sharing that must be

considered with great care by the Elders and the

medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm

may come to people through ignorance and misuse of these

powerful forces.

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In early days we were close to nature. We judged time,

weather conditions, and many things by the elements-the

good earth, the blue sky, the flying of geese, and the changing

winds. We looked to these for guidance and answers. Our

prayers and thanksgiving were said to the four winds-to the

East, from whence the new day was born; to the South, which

sent the warm breeze which gave a feeling of comfort; to the

West, which ended the day and brought rest; and to the North,

the Mother of winter whose sharp air awakened a time of

preparation for the long days ahead. We lived by God's hand

through nature and evaluated the changing winds to tell us

or warn us as to what was ahead. Today we are again

evaluating the changing winds

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May the warm winds of heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your mocassins
Make happy tracks
In many snows,
And may the rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.

Fruit From The Light

by Frank Howell

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