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Native American

Indigenous WisdomToday we are submerged in technology. As I type this on my handy dandy laptop I’m streaming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine via Netflix on my Smart TV (I have warned you previously, dear reader, that this Pixie is a Sci-Fi geek) . My Smart Phone is next to me, poised to speedily inform me if I get any e-mails, texts, phone calls or notifications that I’ve been contacted through any of the Social Media outlets that I use.

I, and I’m guessing many of you, own books by Deepok Chopra, Starhawk, Scott Cunningham, Raymond Buckland, Edain McCoy, The Ferrars, Laurie Cabot etc., etc… We read these to further us along on our respective Paths and teach us all sorts of neat little Witchy things. However, I think the main reason we have these is a search for wisdom. Wisdom is indeed something that these authors have to share with us, and they are truly a very valuable resource. I believe we need to start looking beyond them though.

Let me explain what I mean. I think we need to look further into the past, or at least to cultures that are near the beginning of the past (if that confuses you, sorry…just roll with I think you’ll get my meaning soon enough). The indigenous peoples from around the world have said much that we should revisit and learn from. I’ve gathered several quotes and proverbs from many indigenous tribes. I’ve tried to pull wisdom from native cultures around the globe.

The people from these cultures are far more in tune with the cycles of Life and of the Earth than most of us that live in the modern world. I think we need to listen to what these cultures are trying to tell us. Some of their wisdom is good for the every day things of life, others go far deeper than that. Anyway, check out the wonderful nuggets of wisdom I have chosen for you.

Indigenous People of Mexico

)O( Don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t be lazy. – Inca Proverb

)O( The strongest warrior is he who conquers himself. – Aztec Saying

)O( The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way. – Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij of the Eagle Clan

Indigenous People of North America

)O( A nation is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons. – Cheyenne Proverb

)O( The elders were wise. They knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

)O( 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

)O( Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and a high regard for sharing. When a girl picked her first berries and dug her first roots, they were given away to an elder so she would share her future success. When a child carried water for the home, an elder would give compliments, pretending to taste meat in water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl. The child was encouraged not to be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling. – Mourning Dove,  Salish

)O( When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don’t ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don’t chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. – 19th Century Wintu Woman

)O( 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

)O( Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for… Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our lives – they grow everywhere. – Big Elk, Omaha Chief

)O( The color of skin makes no difference. What is good and just for one is good and just for the other, and the Great Spirit made all men brothers. I have a red skin, but my grandfather was a white man. What does it matter? It is not the color of the skin that makes me good or bad. -White Shield, Arikara Chief

)O( Try to do something for your people – something difficult. Have pity on your people and love them. If a man is poor, help him. Give him and his family food, give them whatever they ask for. If there is discord among your people, intercede. Take your sacred pipe and walk into their midst. Die if necessary in your attempt to bring about reconciliation. Then, when order has been restored and they see you lying dead on the ground, still holding in you hand the sacred pipe, the symbol of peace and reconciliation, then assuredly will they know that you have been a real chief. – Winnebago Teaching

Indigenous People of Europe:

)O( The little fire that warms is better than the big fire that burns. – Irish Gaelic Proverb

)O( A fish from the river, a staff from the wood and a deer from the mountain. – thefts no Gael was ever ashamed of. – Irish Gaelic Proverb

)O( A priest should be learned, but learning won’t make a priest. – Irish Gaelic Proverb

)O( If you want to be a leader, be a bridge. – Welsh Proverb

)O( Speak well of your friend; of your enemy say nothing. – Welsh Proverb

)O( No one is so small that he doesn’t have to bend down; no one is so big that he does not have to stretch. Sami Proverb

)O( Knowledge from the outside does not stay in the head. – Sami Proverb

Indigenous People of Asia:

)O( If I tell you my dream, you might forget it. If I act on my dream, perhaps you will remember it, but if I involve you, it becomes your dream too. – Tibetan Proverb

)O( It is better to live for one day as a tiger than to live for a thousand years as a sheep. – Tibetan Proverb

)O( Medicine that heals is not always sweet and caring words are not always pleasant. – Tibetan Proverb

)O( The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner. – Tibetan Proverb

)O( When drinking water, think about the source. – Tibetan Proverb

)O( It is easier to catch an escaped horse than to take back an escaped word. – Mongolian Proverb

)O( He who drinks, dies; he who does not drink, dies as well. – Mongolian Proverb

)O( Who cleans up the dirt washes away happiness. – Mongolian Proverb

)O( The child learns to walk by falling down.Kazakh Proverb

)O( No matter how much you train the wolf, he still looks at the mountains and howls. – Kazakh Proverb

Indigenous People of Australia:

)O(  Those who lose dreaming are lost. – Aboriginal Proverb

)O(  We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home. – Aboriginal Proverb


Phew! I know that was a lot of stuff to read, but I’m hoping you got something out of it. Even if none of these ideas/philosophies aren’t new to you, perhaps they’ll serve as a reminder of their importance. I know some of them have done that for me.

This is just a drop in the bucket though. I encourage you all to look into who the native people of your area are and see what you can learn from them. If you’re a knowledge nut, like myself, then see what you can find out from other indigenous cultures around the world. There are so many fascinating and intensely deep messages to receive if we just open ourselves up to listening. Some of these cultures are gone…but their wisdom should not be lost. It is important, and we should do all we can to continue to make sure that their words live on.