Native American Sayings & Images

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.”

~ Ancient Indian Proverb

Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.
~ Old Indian saying

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
~ Cherokee Expression

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. We are a part of the earth and it is part of us. ~ Chief Seattle

Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.”

Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find money cannot be eaten.
~ Cree Prophecy

May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.  May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows, and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.
~ Cherokee Prayer Blessing

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun.
~ Lakota Prayer

Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders.
Honor all with whom we  share the Earth:-
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones,
Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people.
Walk in balance and beauty.
~Native American Elder

O’ Great Spirit, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.
~ Cherokee Prayer

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, Nuxalk Nation

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~ Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

…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

The Great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us, that which we put into the ground she returns to us…. ~Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki Algonquin

“One does not sell the land people walk on.” ~Crazy Horse, Sept. 23, 1875

“Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun.

“Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, ‘Never! Never!'”

~The Great Chief Tecumseh~ Shawnee

*Image of Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota

“When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”  ~Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725

“From Wakan-Tanka, the Great Mystery, comes all power. It is from Wakan-Tanka that the holy man has wisdom and the power to heal and make holy charms. Man knows that all healing plants are given by Wakan-Tanka; therefore they are holy. So too is the buffalo holy, because it is the gift of Wakan-Tanka.”

Flat-Iron (Maza Blaska) Oglala Sioux Chief

“When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them.” ~ Chief Seattle

“I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows. We are poor…but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die…we die defending our rights.” ~ Sitting Bull Hunkpapa Sioux

“I will follow the white man’s trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children, and their children. The Great Spirit has shown me – a day will come when they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.” ~ Many Horses

If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
and you will know each other.  If you do not talk to them
you will not know them, and what you do not know
you will fear.  What one fears one destroys.

~Chief Dan George

“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….” Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux

“Our land is everything to us… I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it – with their lives.”

~John Wooden Legs, Cheyenne

*All images are royalty free. I am interested in purchasing more Native American images. Contact me at:

40 responses to “Native American Sayings & Images

  1. Beth, I loved these sayings. My father was part Cherokee, which means I am too, of course. We have tried to prove the lineage, but haven’t to date. We know our great grandmother was Cherokee, but she passed for white on the census. That’s beside the point, which is that I enjoyed this post. As usual, you found beautiful photos to accompany your text.


  2. Thanks Caroline. Wonderful about your Native American heritage. My daughter in law has two Cherokee great grandparents.


  3. Lovely blog, Beth. The NA culture has always fascinated me. I find it very beautiful. Loved reading the sayings and see the beautiful pictures you put up with them. ❤


  4. Beautiful post, Beth! I loved the quotes. I have some native american ancestors also.


  5. Great post, Beth. I have Cherokee somewhere in the great-greats. Here’s a quote to add to your collection:

    “We can only be what we give ourselves the power to be.”
    from a Cherokee Feast of Days

    I have this as a magnet on my refrigerator door; the picture is of an Indian seated on his horse at the edge of a cliff with jagged lightening in the night sky.


  6. That’s a wonderful quote, Julie. And Thanks!


  7. All I can say, Beth, is wow!! Great post and beautiful pics!!


  8. Gorgeous site! And those quotes are priceless.

    According to my geneology that my son-in-law has researched for years, on both sides of the family, my grandparents on my biological father’s side of the family are buried in an Indian graveyard in Texas.


  9. Thanks so much, Susan. 🙂


  10. These are beautiful, Beth. I have an incredible fascination with all things Native American.


  11. VERY NICE, BETH! I have NA blood on both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family. Love the pictures and the sayings. We try to go about 3 or 4 times a year to Geronimo’s grave at Ft. Sill–about 1 1/2 hours from here. That cemetery just gives me such peace to walk through–people come and leave offerings at his grave in his memory. He is buried in a prisoner of war cemetery, not the regular base cemetery. Quanah Parker is buried in the base cemetery along with several chiefs who signed the Medicine Lodge Treaty. I usually have a mixed heritage hero in my stories. GREAT POST!



  12. Lovely quotes. I enjoyed the pictures, too. Nicely done. 🙂


  13. Thanks Cheryl. What a wonderful heritage and rich heritage you have all around you.

    Thanks Karen. 🙂


  14. BTW, I adore that wolf picture. Wish I had a color printer!


  15. Beth, I went to photobucket to see the picture, but can’t find the one with the saying. Admittedly, there are pages upon pages of wolf pictures, so I didn’t look through them all. Is it possible for you to email me the direct link?


  16. Thanks Julie. sure I will. I think I found it under Native American wolves.


  17. Will do in Just a moment


  18. Beth; Is there any possibility of giving me permission to copy some of this superb post for an article on mine, please? If you do allow it, I would, of course, acknowledge your blog as being the originator of the works, and cross-reference it to here.
    I do realise that you are a professional writer and may not, therefore, want anybody to use your works, so if you don’t want me to use your material, then I shan’t.


  19. Thanks. It’s much appreciated.
    I’ve been reading-up on the Shawnee and Shenandoah and they make fascinating reading. I hope to go on to read-up on the Iroquois and others – I think I’m getting ‘hooked’! lol.


    • Yes, very fascinating peoples and time period. So many people have no idea of the vast Eastern Woodland Native American tribes and culture and think of Indians as only being in the west.


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  28. You are born at one point and you die at another point from which we do not know. The span of time that you exist on Mother Earth is your for free and is your true and only power.
    Do not sell it, give it away or let anyone steal it.
    Old Kawaiisu Saying




  30. Beth: You have the most colorful website. You really don’t need to read anything, it’s fun just to come for the pictures. I love all of these sayings/quotes. Hubby is a huge American Indian buff, ask him pretty much anything, and he just goes and goes. I’m laughing, because as I’m writing this, I look up and what do I see – “Ask David Book Review Site.” That’s my hubby’s name. Oh, and thank you for stopping by my old homestead.


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