Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Native Wisdom

One of my favourite books is a non fiction novel entitled 'Bury my heart at wounded knee'. It is factual documentation of how the Native American Indians were displaced and forced to give up their land in the 1800's- and the battles and speeches that accompanied that time. If you havent read this book then you should definitely try and source it and check it out -if only for the incredible historical importance. Native American Indians have always held a special place in my heart and I'd like to share some of their wisdom, in the form of quotes, with you. It is incredible to think that these words are nearly 200 years old and still (if not more so) appropriate today.

-Below are exerpts from Chief Seattle, some from a statement presented to the American Congress in the late 1880's.

We know the white man does not understand our ways, one portion of land is the same to him as the next, but he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it he moves on.

He leaves his fathers' graves and his childrens' birth rights are forgotten.

He treats his mother the earth, and his brother the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know.

Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man but perhaps it's because the red man is a savage and doesnt understand.

There's no quiet place in the white man's cities, no place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of insects wings.

Bu perhaps it's because I am a savage and do not understand.

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath.

The beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man doesnt sem to notice the air he breathes, like a man dying for days, he is numb to the stench.

So we will consider your offer to buy our land, and if we decide to accept will make one condition; the white man must treat the beasts of his land as his brothers. I am a savage and do not understand any other way.

I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

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 doesnt belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man didnt weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.

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