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 Native American Wisdom

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lightsun
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PostSubject: ways of learning   Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:53 am

THE WAYS OF LEARNING :
Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than words. They were never
allowed to pass between the fire and an older person or visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to
make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice,
immediately set him right. Expressions such as "excuse me," "pardon me," and "so sorry," now so often lightly
and unnecessarily used, are not in the Lakota language. If one chanced to injure or cause inconvenience to
another, the word wanunhecun, or "mistake," was spoken. This was sufficient to indicate that no discourtesy
was intended and that what had happened was accidental
Our young people, raised under the old rules of courtesy, never indulged in the present habit of talking
incessantly and all at the same time. To do so would have been not only impolite, but foolish ; for poise, so
much admired as a social grace, could not be accompanied by restlessness. Pauses were acknowledged
gracefully and did not cause lack of ease or embarrassment.
In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand on the ground and explain : "We sit in the lap of our
Mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We shall soon pass, but the place where we now rest
will last forever." So we, too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of life about us in its
multitude of forms.
Sometimes we boys would sit motionless and watch the swallows, the tiny ants, or perhaps some small animal
at its work and ponder its industry and ingenuity ; or we lay on our backs and looked long at the sky, when
the stars came out made shapes from the various groups.
(continued)
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PostSubject: ways of learning   Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:13 am

Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent
in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and
the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned
to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed
at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human
frailty, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but
without complaint.
Even the lightening did us no harm, for whenever it came too close, mothers and grandmothers
in every tipi put cedar leaves on the coals and their magic kept danger away. Bright days and
dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close to
the Great Holiness.
Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was
appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation ; it was expressed in a multitude
of forms.
This appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsing ; nothing as casual and
commonplace. The Indian lived--lived in every sense of the word--from his first to his last breath.
Chief Luther Standing Bear
Teton Sioux
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PostSubject: the ways of learning   Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:40 am

THE WAYS OF LEARNING :
What boy would not be an Indian for a while when he thinks of the freest life in the world? We
were close students of nature. We studied the habits of animals just as you study your books.
We watched the men of our people and acted like them in our play, then learned to emulate
them in our lives.
Month people have better use of their five senses than the children of the wilderness. We could
smell as well as hear and see. We could feel and taste as well as we could see and hear. Nowhere
has the memory been more fully developed than in the wild life.
As a little child, it was instilled into me to be silent and reticent. This was one of the most
important traits to form in the character of the Indian. As a hunter and warrior, it was considered
absolutely necessary to him, and was thought to lay the foundations of patience and self-control.
There are times when boisterous mirth is indulged in by our people, but the rule is gravity and
decorum.
I wish to be a brave man as much as a white boy desires to be great lawyer or even president
of the United States.
I was made to respect the adults, especially the aged. I was not allowed to join in their discussions,
or even to speak in their presence, unless requested to do so. Indian etiquette was very strict,
and among the requirements was that of avoiding direct address. A term of relationship or some
title of courtesy was commonly used instead of the personal name by those who wished to show
respect.
We were taught generosity to the poor and reverence for the Great Mystery. Religion was the basis
of all Indian training.
Chief Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa)
Santee Sioux
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PostSubject: the ways of learning   Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:47 am

THE WAYS OF LEARNING :
We send our little Indian boys and girls to school, and when they come back talking English, they come back
swearing. There is no swear word in the Indian languages, and I haven't yet learned to swear.
Gertrude S. Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa)
Yankton Sioux
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PostSubject: chp. 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:03 am

THE WAYS OF LIVING :
Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These
laws were good. They told us to treat all people as they treated us ; that we
should never be the first to break a bargain ; that it was a disgrace to tell a lie ;
that we should speak only the truth ; that it was a shame for one man to take
from another his wife or his property without paying for it.
We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and
that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home
according to his deserts : If he has been a good man, he will have a good home ;
if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home.
This I believe, and all m people believe the same.
Chief Joseph
Nez Perce
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:20 am

THE WAYS OF LIVING
The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength
and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for a difficult or dangerous service, and would think it
shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather : "Let the person I serve express his thanks
according to his own bringing up and sense of honor."
Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa)
Santee Sioux
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:32 am

THE WAYS OF LIVING :
Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive
manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation
was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause
giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation.
Chief Luther Standing Bear
Teton Sioux
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:41 am

THE WAYS OF LIVING
This is a happy season of the year-having plenty of provisions, such as beans, squashes, and
other produce, with our dried meat and fish. We continue to make feasts and visit each other,
until our corn is ripe.
At least one of the lodges in the village makes a feast daily for the Great Spirit. I cannot explain
this so that the white people will comprehend me, because we have no regular standard among
us. Everyone makes his feast as he thinks best, to please the Great Spirit, who has the care of
all beings created.
Black Hawk
Sauk
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:53 am

THE WAYS OF LIVING
When you begin a great work you can't expect to finish it a at once ; therefore do you and your
brothers press on, and let nothing discourage you till you have entirely finished what you have
begun.
Now, Brother, as for me, I assure you I will press on, and the contrary winds may blow strong in
my face, yet I will go forward and never turn back, and continue to press forward until I have
finished, and I would have you do the same....
Though you may hear birds singing on this side and that side, you must not take notice of that,
but hear me when I speak to you, and take it to heart, for you may always depend that what I
say shall be true.
Teedyuscung
Delaware
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:02 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING :
My young men small never farm. Men who work the soil cannot dream, and wisdom comes to
us in dreams.
Wowoka
(member of a non-agricultural tribe in Nevada)
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:10 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING.
If you ever get married, my son, do not make an idol of your wife. The more you worship her, the
more she will want to be worshiped....My son, this also I tell you : Women should never be
watched too closely. If you try to watch them, you will show your jealousy and become so
jealous of your wife that she will leave you and run away. You yourself will be to blame for this.
Anonymous
Winnebago
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:18 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING :
During the first year a newly married couple discovers whether they can agree with each other
and can be happy-if not, they part, and look for other partners. If we wish to live together and
disagree, we would be as foolish as the whites.
No indiscretion can banish woman from her parental lodge. It makes no difference how many
children she may bring home ; she is always welcome. The kettle is over the fire to feed them.
Black Hawk
Sauk
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:29 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING
Grandfather says that when your friends die you must not cry. You must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone.
You must not fight. Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life.
Wovoka
Paiute
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:40 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING
If the white man wants to li e in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike.
Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow.
All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother
of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect the rivers
to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up
and denied liberty to go where he pleases.
If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you penn an Indian up on a small spot
of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper.
Chief Joseph
Nez Perce
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PostSubject: chp 4 the ways of living   Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:43 pm

THE WAYS OF LIVING
We are all poor because we are all honest.
Red Dog
Oglala Sioux
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:56 pm

THE WAYS OF LEADING OTHERS :
Something is wrong with the white man's council. When the Micmac people used to
have council , the old men would speak and tell the young men what to do- and
the young men would listen and do what old men told them to. The white men have
changed that, too : Now the young men speak, and the old men listen. I believe
the Micmac Council was far better.
Peter Paul (1865)
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:07 pm

Why should you take by force from us that which you can obtain by love? Why should you destroy
us who have provided you with food? What can you get by war?
It is better to eat good meat, be well, and sleep quietly with my women and children ; to laugh
and be merry with the English, and be their friend ; to have copper hatchets and whatever else I want.
King Wahunsonacook
Powhatan
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PostSubject: Re: Native American Wisdom   Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:11 pm

lightsun!

all men's councils may have failed to (fore)see the seers.
were not many of them women?

where are their places in council?

Sad
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PostSubject: native american women   Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:48 pm

I agree, lavender orchid. Women should be represented. There were matriarchal societies like
the Cherokee. It's sort of like the bible as well as civilization. There have been great Indian,
biblical, women since the dawn of civilization. These usually take specific & exhaustive
studies though to uncover great women. This happens with other minorities as well. That is
why African-American's have fought for their contributions to be recognized. You are right.
There should be a book of Native American women, & their contributions to be recognized.
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:16 pm

THE WAYS OF LEADING OTHERS :
We now crown you with the sacred emblem of the deer's antlers, the emblem of your Lordship. You shall now
become a mentor of the people of the Five Nations. The thickness of your skin shall e seven spans-which is
to say that you shall be filled with peace and goodwill and your mind filled with a yearning for the welfare
of the people of the Confederacy.
With endless patience you shall carry out your duty, and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness
for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall lodge in your mind, and all your words and actions shall be
marked with calm deliberation.
In all your deliberations in the Council, in your efforts at lawmaking, in all your official acts, self-interest
shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not away the warnings of others, if they should chide you for any error or
wrong you may do, but return to the Great Law, which is just and right.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the
coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the earth-the unborn of the future Nation.
Constitution of the Five Nations
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:02 pm

The Onondaga (Iroquois) lords shall open each council by greeting their cousin lords, and expressing
their gratitude to them. And they shall offer thanks to the earth where people dwell-
To the streams of water, the pools, the springs, and the lakes ; to the maize and the fruits-
To the medicinal herbs and the trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, to the animals that
serve as food and who offer their pelts as clothing-
To the great winds and the lesser winds ; to the Thunderers ; and the Sun, the mighty warrior ;
to the moon-
To the messengers of the Great Spirit who dwells in the skies above, who gives all things useful
to men, who is the source and the ruler of health and life.
Then shall the Onondaga lords declare the council open.
Iroquois Constitution
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:19 pm

THE WAYS OF LEADING OTHERS
Should any man of the Nation assist with special ability or show great interest in the affairs of
the Nation, if he proves himself wise, honest, and worthy of confidence, the Confederate Lords
may elect him to a seat with them and he may sit in the Confederate Council. He shall be
proclaimed a Pine Tree sprung up for the Nation and be installed as such at the next assembly
for the installation of Lords.
Should he ever do anything contrary to the rules of the Great Peace, he may not be deposed
from office-no one shall cut him down-but thereafter everyone shall be deaf to his voice and his
advise. Should he resign his seat and title, no one shall prevent him. A Pine Tree Chief has no
authority to name a successor, nor is his title hereditary.
Constitution of the Five Nations
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PostSubject: the ways of leading others   Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:21 am

THE WAYS OF LEADING OTHERS :
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 your hand the sacred pipe, the symbol of
peace and reconciliation, them assuredly will they know that you have been a real chief.
Winnebago lesson
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PostSubject: chp 5 the ways of leading others   Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:27 am

THE WAYS OF LEADING OTHERS :
No person among us desires any other reward for performing a brave and worthy action, but
the consciousness of having served his nation.
Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea)
Mohawk
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PostSubject: chp 6 the ways of the heart   Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:55 am

THE WAYS OF THE HEART :
My friends, how desperately do we need to be loved and to love. When Christ said that man does
not live by bread alone, he spoke of a huger. This hunger was not the hunger of the body. It was not
the hunger for bread. He spoke of a hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being.
He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love.
Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must
have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens.
Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world. We
turn inward and begin to feed upon our personalities, and little by little we destroy ourselves.
With it we are creative. With it we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to
sacrifice for others.
Chief Dan George
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