Saturday, February 20, 2016

Native Chiefs of Canada Speak Words of Wisdom

Chief Dan George OC (July 24, 1899 – September 23, 1981 ~ chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation...
a Coast Salish band whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet in the southeast area of District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was also an author, poet and an Academy Award-nominated actor. Born as Geswanouth Slahoot in North Vancouver, his English name was originally Dan Slahoot. The surname was changed to George when he entered a 'residential school' at age 5. He worked a number of different jobs including a longshoreman, construction worker and school bus driver. He was band chief from 1951 to 1963.

Canadian Donald Sutherland narrated the following poem...My Heart Soars (by Chief Dan George) at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver:
The beauty of the trees...
the softness of the air...
the fragrance of the grass …
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain...
the thunder of the sky...
the rhythm of the sea...
speaks to me.

The strength of the fire...
the taste of the salmon...
the trail of the sun...
and the life that never goes away...
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.”

One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But, if you don't talk to the animals, they won't talk back to you, then you won't understand, and when you don't understand, you will fear and when you fear, you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself. (Chief Dan George ~ Native Canadian Indian)

Love is a need as vital as breath. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because, without it, we become weak and faint. Without love, our self-esteem weakens. Without it, our courage fails. Without love, we can no longer look out confidently at the world.
But, with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly.
With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.
(Chief Dan George ~ Native Canadian Indian)

Chief Yellow Lark: Oh, Great Spirit...whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!

Ojibway Indian Poem: Sometimes I go pitying myself
And all the while I am being carried across the sky
By beautiful clouds.

Chief Seattle: Teach your children what we have taught our children...that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of 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.

Native American Grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The Grandson asked him,“Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The Grandfather answered, “The one I feed.” (Native American story)

Life Quotes by Plains Cree Elders

If you want to learn your language, you need to use it.
(Freda Ahanakew, Muskeg Lake First Nation)

We have to put our minds together as Indian people for the good of our youngsters
and teach our children their mother tongue.
(Smith Atimoyoo, Little Pine First Nation)

In the old days, we used to respect everything.
This isn't done today, that's why we are lost.
(Isiah Bear, Muskoday First Nation)

I will never let my culture go! I fear for our young people.
I hope they have enough sense to seek spiritual guidance from the elders.
(Edward Fox, Sweetgrass First Nation)

The treaties must not be forgotten. We must remind our children of this.
(Edward Okanee, Thunderchild First Nation)

Realize that we as human beings have been put on Earth
for only a short time and that we must use this time to gain
wisdom, knowledge, respect and the understanding
for all human beings ...since we are all relatives.
(Cree Proverb)

Be truthful and respectful in our speech, which is in itself is a miracle
and a gift from the Creator...that we might use it
only to speak good of each other and pass on the good things of life.
(Cree Proverb)

Only when the last tree has died
and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught
will we realize
we cannot eat money.
(Cree Indian Expression)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 6, 2015
Comments to:


  1. MEG WRITES: "Of course, this is my favourite blog of yours ~
    all of my best-loved quotes from people I have always loved.
    Thank you."

  2. Thanks greatly, Meg for your comment and continued interest in my writings! You're a great friend!

  3. DEANNA COMMENTS: "How I enjoyed the poems by those wonderful Native Indians! Simple words but so very deep and meaningful. I shall carry them in my heart.
    Thank you...I shall treasure them and pass them along to others."

  4. A few years ago I posted several articles about the life styles and disciplines the aboriginal Indians in both Canada and United States lived and practised. They live simply with honesty and have great respect for women in their tribe...and for Mother Nature!