Onefeather Journal

"Grandfather Great Spirit
Fill us with the Light 
Give us the strength to understand and the eyes to see. 
Teach us to walk the soft earth as relatives to all that live." 
​Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 - 1909
"There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. 
The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say." 
​Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 - 1909
“The song that I will sing is an old song, so old that none knows who made it. It has been handed down through generations and was taught to me when I was but a little lad. It is now my own song. It belongs to me. This is a holy song (medicine-song), and great is its power. 
The song tells how, as I sing, I go through the air to a holy place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will give me power
​to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by little clouds, and as I go through the air I change, becoming spirit only.”
Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 - 1909
There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled, which leads to an unknown, secret place. 
The old people came literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power.
Their teepees were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces.
For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly.
​He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) Oglala Lakota 1868 – 1939
“The Wise Man believes profoundly in silence - the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astride on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shinning pool - this, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. 
​Silence is the cornerstone of character.”
​Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) – 1858 – 1939
"I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds." Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (1863 – 1950)
“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.
”Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (Black Hawk) Sauk 1767 - 1838
“No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers... sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?” Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee 1768 - 1813
“Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.”
Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee 1768 - 1813
“Do not refuse to work for the whites and do not make any trouble with them until you leave them. When the earth shakes [at the coming of the new world] do not be afraid. It will not hurt you.”
Wovoka (Jack Wilson) Northern Paiute 1856 – 1932
 Wovoka (Jack Wilson) 
Northern Paiute 1856 – 1932

​(Creator of the Ghost Dance)

“Grandfather (a universal title of reverence among Indians and here meaning the messiah) says, 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 (Jack Wilson) Northern Paiute 1856 – 1932
"When the sun died, I went up to heaven and saw God and all the people who had died a long time ago. God told me to come back and tell my people they must be good and love one another, and not fight, or steal, or lie. He gave me this dance (referring to The Ghost Dance) to give to my people."
​Wovoka (Jack Wilson) Northern Paiute 1856 – 1932


(John Wooden Legs)

Northern Cheyenne 1858 - 1940

"Our land is everything to us. It is the only place in the world where Cheyennes talk the Cheyenne language to each other. It is the only place where Cheyennes remember the same things together. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it -- with their life. My people and the Sioux defeated General Custer at the Little Bighorn." John Wooden Legs 1858 - 1940
“The old Indian teaching was that is wrong to tear loose from its place on the earth anything that may be growing there. It may be cut off, but it should not be uprooted. The trees and the grass have spirits. Whatever one of such growth may be destroyed by some good Indian, his act is done in sadness and with a prayer for forgiveness because of his necessities…” 
​John Wooden Legs 1858 - 1940
“The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that the power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over the dumb creation; on the other hand, it is to him a perilous gift.”
​Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) 1858 – 1939


(Charles Alexander Eastman)

Santee Dakota 1858 - 1939

“It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. . . . Children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. . . . The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have. . . . to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.”
Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) 1858 – 1939
“Whenever, in the course of the daily hunt, the hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful, or sublime - a black thundercloud with the rainbow's glowing arch above the mountain, a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge, a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of the sunset - he pauses for an instant in the attitude of worship. He sees no need for a setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God's days.”
​Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) 1858 - 1939
“As a child, I understood how to give; I have forgotten that grace since I became civilized. I lived the natural life, whereas now I now live the artificial. Any pretty pebble was valuable then, every growing tree an object of reverence. Now I worship with the white man before a painted landscape whose value is estimated in dollars! Thus the Indian is reconstructed, as the natural rocks are ground to powder and made into artificial blocks that may be built into the walls of modern society."
Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) 1858 - 1939
“Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new, sweet earth, and the Great Silence... alone.”
​Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman) 1858 - 1939
“We did not think of the great open plains, the rolling hills and winding streams with tangled growth as “wild”. 
​To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.”
​Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) 1868 - 1939
"The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged.
​"Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) 1868 - 1939
“Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a Supreme Power, and principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equity, and brotherhood as a guide to mundane relations.”
Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) 1868 - 1939
Ota Kte 
​(Luther Standing Bear)

Oglala Lakota 1868 - 1939
"The Medicine Wheel is the circle of life (sometimes referred to as the Scared Hoop), starting with birth and continuing through out our lives until death, when we have gone full circle. The Medicine wheel has four directions, each direction offering it's own lessons, color, and animal guide. There are two paths shown which cross in the center, at which point, for me, is the heart (for when you work from your heart, you can reach all directions). The path from east to west is the path of spirits (the Blue Road). The path from south to north is our physical walk (the Red Road). East ... beginnings, purity, family, innocence, amazement of life. South ...youth, passions of life, friendships, self-control. West ...adulthood, solitude, stillness, going inside oneself, reflection. North … Place of the Ancient Ones who have gone over, place of wisdom Above - freedom of mind, body, spirit. Below - nurturing, Mother, life."
Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) 1868 - 1939

Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk)

Oglala Lakota (1863 – 1950)

“Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World”
Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (1863 – 1950) 
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men."
​Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (1863 – 1950) 
“I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.”
​Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (1863 - 1950)
"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."
​Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea)  Mohawk

Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant)

Mohawk (1743 to 1807)

“We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness here is never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law.”
​Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea)  Mohawk

The Philosophy of the First Nation Peoples

Insights From Native American Tribal Elders, Spiritual Leaders and Chieftains


Dr. Charles A. Eastman, born Ohiyesa (Santee Sioux) 
Chapter 4: Barbarism and the Moral Code, ​The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation, 1911:

​"One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a socialist. The tribe claimed the ground, the rivers and the game; only personal property was owned by the individual, and even that, it was considered a shame to greatly increase. For they held that greed grew into crime, and much property made men forget the poor.Our answer to this is that without great property, that is, power in the hands of one man, most of the great business enterprises of the world could not have been; especially enterprises that required the prompt action impossible in a national commission. All great steps in national progress have been through some one man, to whom the light came, and to whom our system gave the power to realize his idea. The Indian's answer is, that all good things would have been established by the nation as it needed them; anything coming sooner comes too soon. The price of a very rich man is many poor ones, and peace of mind is worth more than railways and skyscrapers.In the Indian life there was no great wealth, so also poverty and starvation were unknown, excepting under the blight of national disaster, against which no system can insure. Without a thought of shame or mendicancy, the young, helpless and aged all were cared for by the nation that, in the days of their strength, they were taught and eager to serve.Thus: Avarice, said to be the root of all evil, and the dominant characteristic of the [European] races, was unknown among Indians, indeed it was made impossible by the system they had developed."
“Teach your children what we have taught our children that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know - the Earth does not belong to man - man belongs to the Earth. This we know.”
​Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) Duwamish 1786 - 1866
“The Puebla have no word that translates as “religion”. The knowledge of a spiritual life is part of the person twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. Religious belief permeates every aspect of life; it determines man’s relation with the natural world and with his fellow man. The secret of the Pueblo’s success was simple … they came face to face with nature but did not exploit it.”
​Joe S. Sando Jemez Pueblo

“Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit.

If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the book?”

Sagoyewatha  (Red Jacket)  Seneca 1750 - 1830 

“Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!”
Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) Duwamish 1786 - 1866
“When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.”
​Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) Duwamish 1786 - 1866
“Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology.... has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.”
​Ojigkwanong (William Commanda) Algonquin Elder 1913 - 2011
"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 earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.”
​Chased-by-Bears, Santee-Yanktonai Sioux

Sagoyewatha  (Red Jacket)  

Seneca 1750 - 1830

“How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the earth, you killed him, the son of your own God, you nailed him up! You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. And only after you thought you killed him did you worship him, and start killing those who would not worship him. What kind of a people is this for us to trust?”
Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee 1768 - 1813
“We have to have one mind for the Four Directions. Until we reach that one mind, we cannot be filled with understanding… The Creator will not answer until you have just one mind, just like if you have one person”Ojigkwanong (William Commanda) Algonquin Elder 1913 – 2011​
"As to the future state, the teachings of our tribe were not specific, that is, we had no definite idea of our relations and surroundings in after life. We believed that there is a life after this one, but no one ever told me as to what part of man lived after death ... We held that the discharge of one's duty would make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future life was worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one was able to tell us. We hoped that in the future life, family and tribal relations would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we did not know it." 
​Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 – 1909
Chief Tecumseh (Shooting Star or Panther Across the Sky)
Shawnee 1768 - 1813

Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) 

Duwamish 1786 - 1866

“Sometimes I go about pitying myself
And all the while I am being carried across the sky
By beautiful clouds.”
Ojibway Poem
“It is the general belief of the Indians that after a man dies his spirit is somewhere on the earth or in the sky, we do not know exactly where, but we are sure that his spirit still lives. . . . So it is with WakanTanka. We believe that he is everywhere, yet he is to us as the spirits of our friends, whose voices we cannot hear.”
​Chased-by-Bears, Santee-Yanktonai Sioux
“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." Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 - 1909 

"You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind, and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book. If it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?”

Sagoyewatha  (Red Jacket)  1750 - 1830) Seneca

Ojigkwanong (William Commanda)

Algonquin Elder 1913 – 2011

"And there are Four Corners of the Earth that we talk about, the Four Colors of people, and the Four Winds. You see, the Winds -- they are Spirits."Ojigkwanong (William Commanda) Algonquin Elder 1913 – 2011

Goyaałé (Geronimo)

Chiricahua Apache 1829 – 1909

“Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all...we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own. . .you say you have not come to get our land or our wealth but to enlighten our minds. . .you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbours. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.”

Sagoyewatha  (Red Jacket)  1750 - 1830) Seneca

"I do not see a delegation for the Four Footed. I see no seat for the Eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. 
But we are after all a mere part of Creation. And we must consider to understand where we are.
And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant.
​Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the Creation."
​Chief Oren Lyons, Oneida 
"..... Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each prayed aloud, sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our services were short. " 
Goyaałé (Geronimo) Chiricahua Apache 1829 – 1909
“All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) Duwamish 1786 - 1866
“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” 
Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) Duwamish 1786 - 1866