130 Native American Quotes on Nature and Freedom

These Native American quotes will give you a better understanding of the world we live in.

Native Americans are the indigenous peoples of the United States. They are the first groups of people to live in America. Lessons from their ancestors are passed through proverbs, legends, and sayings.

Their history is our way of understanding more about the world we live in today. We’ve gathered some of the best quotes from different tribes and chiefs that will teach you a thing or two about life. Read the entire collection below to learn about Native Americans and their culture.

Start reading here.

And make sure to check out these wave quotes.

Best Native American Quotes

1. “Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings. It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet. To allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes, bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the sky, putting it in and giving it out from the heart.” – Brooke Medicine Eagle

2. “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

3. “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.” – Chief Seattle 

4. “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.” – Chief Crowfoot

5. “Old age is not as honorable as death, but most people want it.” – Crow

6. “You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It’s the pursuit of the dream that heals you.” – Billy Mills

7. “You already possess everything necessary to become great.” – Crow

8. “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

9. “There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” – Chief Seattle

10. “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

11. “We, the great mass of the people, think only of the love we have for our land. We do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold on this land go. To let it go, it will be like throwing away our mother that gave us birth.” – Aitooweyah 

12. “Our first teacher is our own heart.” – Cheyenne

13. “Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.” – Crow

14. “I have seen that in any great undertaking, it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself.” – Lone Man

15. “The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away, and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.” – Mary Brave Bird

Wise Native American Quotes That You Will Need to Conquer Life

16. “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” – Dakota Tribe

17. “All things share the same breath—the beast, the tree, the man, the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle

18. “Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts.” – Hopi

19. “When you know who you are. When your mission is clear, and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will, no cold can touch your heart. No deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive.” – Chief Seattle

20. “The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” – Black Elk

21. “All who have died are equal.” – Comanche

22. “When you are in doubt, be still and wait. When doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still. Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists as it surely will. Then act with courage.” – Chief White Eagle 

23. “It does not require many words to speak the truth.” – Chief Joseph

24. “All dreams spin-out from the same web.” – Hopi

25. “Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.” – Anonymous

26. “Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something.” – Maricopa 

27. “If the white man wants to live 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.” – Chief White Elk

28. “It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.” – Apache

29. “If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove.” – Cheyenne

30. “Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance.” – Lakota

Native American Quotes and Proverbs on Nature 

31. “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.” – Chief Qwatsinas 

32. “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 Woodenlegs

33. “Even a small mouse has anger.” – Lakota

34. “One does not sell the land people walk on.” – Crazy Horse

35. “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

36. “You ask me to plow the ground. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother’s bosom? Then when I die, she will not take me to her bosom to rest.” – Wovoka

37. “I have heard you intend to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don’t want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when we settle down, we grow pale and die.” – Chief Satanta

38. “May the stars carry your sadness away. May the flowers fill your heart with beauty. May hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all, may silence make you strong.” – Chief Dan George

39. “I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds, and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.” – Geronimo

40. “I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures and where everything drew a free breath. I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted over that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.” – Chief Ten Bears

41. “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

42. “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

43. “Nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings. The other sought the dominance of surroundings. For us, the world was full of beauty. For the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world. But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.” – Luther Standing Bear

44. “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

45. “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

Quotes That Show the Culture of Native Americans

46. “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

47. “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 Hendrick Aupaumut

48. “Children learn from what they see. We need to set an example of truth and action.” – Howard Rainer

49. “We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl 10 times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.” – Tom Brown Jr.

50. “Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark.” – Cheyenne

51. “Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking, was done in the practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that thought comes before speech.” – Luther Standing Bear

52. “When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.” – Arapaho

53. “We are Indians, and we have no such bank, but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by, they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.” – Chief Maquinna

54. “I love the land of winding waters more than all the rest of the world. A man who would not love his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.” – Chief Joseph

55. “A frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives.” – Anonymous

56. “Grown men can learn from very little children, for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.” – Black Elk

57. “Those that lie down with dogs get up with fleas.” – Blackfeet

58. “If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.” – Arapaho

59. “The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors.” – Chief Plenty Coups

60. “He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone.” – Seneca

Native American Quotes Packed With Insights

61. “There is but one secret to success—never give up.” – Ben Nighthorse Campbell

62. “Day and night cannot dwell together.” – Duwamish

63. “I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you, and I am that place within me, we shall be one.” – Chief Red Cloud

64. “The weakness of the enemy makes our strength.” – Cherokee

65. “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” – Navajo

66. “Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins.” – Cheyenne

67. “A very great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.” – Crazy Horse

68. “This time, they would find the path to love and to acceptance. This time, she would know and understand the secrets of his heart as well as those of her own.” – Janelle Taylor

69. “Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.” – Chief Crowfoot

70. “I have learned that the point of life’s walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart.” – Anasazi Foundation

71. “Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way.” – Chief Blackfoot

72. “One finger cannot lift a pebble.” – Hopi

73. “I think over again about my small adventures. My fears, those small ones that seemed so big, for all the vital things I had to get and reach, and yet, there is only one great thing. The only thing to live to see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.” – Inuit

74. “Our job is to be an awake people, utterly conscious, to attend to our world.” – Louis Owens

75. “Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man.” – Sioux

Informative Quotes on the Colonization of Native American Tribes

76. “We are poor, but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights.” – Sitting Bull

77. “When a white army battles Indians and wins, it is called a great victory, but if they lose, it is called a massacre.” – Chief Chiksika

78. “This war did not spring upon our land. This war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price and who, in our land, do a great many evil things. This war has come from robbery, from the stealing of our land.” – Spotted Tail

79. “A long time ago, this land belonged to our fathers, but when I go up to the river, I see camps of soldiers on its banks. These soldiers cut down my timber, they kill my buffalo, and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting.” – Chief Satanta

80. “We are going by you without fighting if you will let us, but we are going by you anyhow!” – Chief Joseph

81. “At some time, there shall come among you a stranger, speaking a language you do not understand. He will try to buy the land from you but do not sell it. Keep it for an inheritance to your children.” – Aseenewub

82. “Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike—brothers of one father and one another, with one sky above us, and one country around us, and one government for all.” – Chief Joseph

83. “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!'” – Chief Tecumseh

84. “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

85. “How smooth must be the language of the whites when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right.” – Black Hawk

86. “I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.” – Sun Bear 

87. “We know our lands have now become more valuable. The white people think we do not know their value, but we know that the land is everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it are soon worn out and gone.” – Canassatego

88. “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.” – Chief Tecumseh

89. “We are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth. It is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood. We bid farewell to it and all we hold dear.” – Charles Hicks

90. “Tourists came around and looked into our tipis. That those were the homes we choose to live in didn’t bother them at all. They untied the door, opened the flap, and barged right in, touching our things, poking through our bedrolls, inspecting everything. It boggles my mind that tourists feel they have the God-given right to intrude everywhere.” – Russell Means

Quotes About the Beliefs and Principles of Native Americans

91. “We shall live again. We shall live again.” – Comanche

92. “We’ve all been through a lot we don’t understand in a world made to either break us or make us so hard we can’t break even when it’s what we need most to do.” – Tommy Orange

93. “Peace of mind is the meaning of life.” – Talisa Santiago

94. “Like a man who has been dying for many days, a man in your city is numb to the stench.” – Chief Seattle

95. “Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world, there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them. The animals had rights—the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living. It gave us reverence for all life. It made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.” – Luther Standing Bear

96. “The most beautiful thing in the world is a heart that is changing.” – Anasazi Foundation

97. “Allow the power to flow through you. Don’t try to capture it. You wish only to borrow it.” – G.G. Collins

98. “The old Indian teaching was that it 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 Woodenlegs

99. “Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers. Free to follow the religion of my fathers. Free to think, and talk, and act for myself and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.” – Chief Joseph

100. “The success of my journey depended on whether my heart walked forward, toward my people, instead of backward, away from them.” – Anasazi Foundation

Religious Native American Quotes

101. “It was supposed that lost spirits were roving about everywhere in the invisible air, waiting for children to find them if they searched long and patiently enough. The spirit sang its spiritual song for the child to memorize and use when calling upon the spirit guardian as an adult.” – Mourning Dove

102. “Remember that your children are not your own but are lent to you by the Creator.” – Mohawk

103. “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.” – Black Elk

104. “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?” – Red Jacket

105. “All birds, even those of the same species, are not alike, and it is the same with animals and with human beings. The reason Wakan Tanka does not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is because each is placed here by Wakan Tanka to be an independent individuality and to rely upon itself.” – Shooter

106. “Friend, do it this way. That is, whatever you do in life, do the very best you can with both your heart and minds, and if you do it that way, the power of the universe will come to your assistance if your heart and mind are in unity.” – Lakota

107. “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 things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.” – Black Elk

108. “The holy land is everywhere.” – Black Elk

109. “You have noticed that everything, as Indian does, is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.” – Black Elk

110. “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 ought against any individual, we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.” – Geronimo

111. “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.” – Luther Standing Bear

112. “All things in the world are two. In our minds, we are two, good and evil. With our eyes, we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly. We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way. The other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two.” – Chief White Eagle

113. “In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars, and the sun, and moon should man learn all things tell of Tirawa.” – Chief White Eagle

114. “Soon, there will come from the rising sun a different kind of man from any have yet seen, who will bring with them a book and will teach you everything.” – Spokane Prophet

115. “I want my people to stay with me here. All the dead men will come to life again. Their spirits will come to their bodies again. We must wait here in the homes of our fathers and be ready to meet them in the bosom of our mother.” – Wovoka

More Native American Quotes That Will Widen Your Perspective

116. “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

117. “I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.” – Chief Red Cloud

118. “It’s our stuff. We made it, and we know best how to use it and care for it. And now, we’re going to get it back.” – John Pretty on Top

119. “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

120. “Before eating, always take time to thank the food.” – Arapaho

121. “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

122. “I am a great chief among my people. If you kill me, it will be like a spark on the prairie. It will make a big fire, a terrible fire!” – Chief Satanta

123. “The Earth is the Mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect the river 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.” – Chief Joseph

124. “If today, I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child’s feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!” – Tom Brown Jr.

125. “The idea of a full dress for preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability. The preparation is for death, in case that should be the result of the conflict. Every Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet the Great Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether in imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sickness or injury at times of peace.” – Wooden Leg

126. “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.” – Sitting Bull

127. “If an Indian wishes to gain something, he promises that if the horse will help him, he will paint it with native dye, that all may see that help has come to him through the aid of his horse.” – Brave Buffalo

128. “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.” – Black Elk

129. “My father, you have made promises to me and to my children. If the promises had been made by a person of no standing, I should not be surprised to see his promises fail. But you, who are so great in riches and power. I am astonished that I do not see your promises fulfilled!” – Chief Shingwauk

130. “Upon suffering beyond suffering, the Red Nation shall rise again, and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness, and separations. A world longing for light again.” – Crazy Horse

Which of These Native American Quotes Enlightened You About Mankind, Nature, and Life?

Native Americans teach us the value of our forests and ancestral lands. Their love of every form of life translates to their deep respect for the land and its conservation. They are people who know how to give back and protect the world.

Sometimes, we fail to remember that we get food and shelter from the environment. We forget how dependent we are on nature—that all things in life are connected and are bound together.

We hope that these quotes were able to help you gain a better understanding of how essential nature is for us to live and thrive. Remember that nature is something that we need to protect—not something that we should take advantage of.

Did this collection inspire you to protect the environment? Which quote is your favorite? Comment it down below!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.