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13 Quotes To Celebrate Native American Heritage

Indigenous culture and wisdom flourish in every facet of American society. Some sayings, from famous leaders such as Tecumseh and Crazy Horse, echo down through the ages, while modern artists, athletes, and astronauts add their own voices to a growing chorus.

These 13 quotes from notable Native American figures throughout history exhibit the unique insight of these first peoples, and celebrate their indispensable role in the story of America.

Sorrow eats time. Be patient. Time eats sorrow.
Louise Erdrich

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Louise Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Night Watchman.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that 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 Tecumseh

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Shawnee Chief Tecumseh led the Native American forces during the War of 1812.

The Holy Land is everywhere.
Black Elk

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Black Elk was a medicine man of the Oglala Lakota people and a relative of Crazy Horse.

As long as you remember what you have seen, then nothing is gone. As long as you remember, it is part of this story we have together.
Leslie Marmon Silko

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Leslie Marmon Silko is a member of the Laguna Pueblo and author of several works of poetry and prose, including her most famous work, the 1977 novel Ceremony.

What you see on the surface is never the same again once you begin to plumb the depths.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith,

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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is a visual artist and a member of the Salish and Kootenai tribes.

Remember you are this universe and this universe is you.
Joy Harjo

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Muscogee musician, poet, and author, Joy Harjo was also named the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate.

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

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Sun Bear was a Chippewa teacher, healer, and author of nine books.

We are fortunate to inhabit this jewel in the Cosmos, and it is our responsibility to take care of it.
John B. Herrington

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John B. Herrington is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and the first Native American astronaut in space.

Use your own unique perspective and try to contribute and not just consume.
Nicholas Galanin

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Nicholas Galanin is a Tlingit and Unangax̂ artist.

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 Si’Ahl

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Duwamish Chief Si'Ahl was the namesake of the Seattle, Washington.

Very often you are in the right place, at the right time, but you don't know it.
Maria Tallchief

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Maria Tallchief was a member of the Osage Nation and one of the all-time greatest American ballerinas.

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 … Find your dream. It's the pursuit of the dream that heals you.
Billy Mills

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Billy Mills is a member of the Oglala Lakota and U.S. Olympic gold medalist in track and field.

I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am at that place within me, we shall be one.
Crazy Horse

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Crazy Horse was a Lakota leader of the Oglala band and a victorious commander at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Featured image credit: Tina Xinia/ Unsplash

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About the Author
Darren Orf
Darren lives in Portland, Oregon, has two cats, and writes about science, technology, nature, and history.
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