Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with Words of Wisdom from Native American Women
Today we are celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day by sharing the wisdom of inspiring Native American Women you may or may not have heard of. Often, women’s stories are lost or left out of history books. Women’s stories, thoughts, and insights are more valuable now than ever before. We’ve gathered quotes from Indigenous Women that remind us of our true American history and inspire a better path forward.
X Quotes by Indigenous Women
“You know that women are always looked upon as nothing, but we are your mothers, you are our sons, our cry is all for peace, let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women´s sons be ours, our sons be yours, let your women hear our words.”
― Nanye-hi Ghighau (Beloved Woman) of the Cherokee
The saddest day has gleams of light, The darkest wave hath bright foam beneath it. There twinkles o’er the cloudiest night, Some solitary star to cheer it.
―Sarah Winnemucca (Northern Paiute author, activist and educator)
“I want to be remembered as the person who helped us restore faith in ourselves.”
―Wilma Mankiller (first Native American woman elected to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation)
“In every Indigenous community I’ve been in, they absolutely do want community infrastructure and they do want development, but they want it on their own terms. They want to be able to use their national resources and their assets in a way that protects and sustains them. Our territories are our wealth, the major assets we have. And Indigenous people use and steward this property so that they can achieve and maintain a livelihood, and achieve and maintain that same livelihood for future generations.” ―Rebecca Adamson (founder of First Nations Development Institute and the founder of First Peoples Worldwide)
When I think of my past life, and the bitter trials I have endured, I can scarcely believe I live, and yet I do; and, with the help of Him who notes the sparrow’s fall, I mean to fight for my down-trodden race while life lasts.
“I think the most important issue we have as people are what we started, and that is to begin to trust our own thinking again and believe in ourselves enough to think that we can articulate our own vision of the future and then work to make sure that vision becomes a reality.”
― Wilma Mankiller
“For Indigenous people, the goal for our land is definitely about protection, but it’s also about use. We see ourselves as so integrated with our territory that our protection is tied to our use and our use is tied to our protection. We use the resources on our territory to live.”
― Rebecca Adamson
“One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful for the gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me.”
― Wilma Mankiller
“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 (Sicangu Lakota writer and activist.)
I have not contended for Democrat, Republican, Protestant or Baptist for an agent. I have worked for freedom, I have laboured to give my race a voice in the affairs of the nation.
If women could go into your Congress, I think justice would soon be done to the Indians.
I hear from my Inuit and Yupik relatives up north that everything has changed. It’s so hot; there is not enough winter. Animals are confused. Ice is melting.
―Joy Harjo (first Native American woman to hold the honor of being the incumbent United States Poet Laureate)
When explorers first encountered my people, they called us heathens, sun worshippers. They didn’t understand that the sun is a relative and illuminates our path on this earth.
My ancestors include Monahwee, who was one of the leaders in the Red Stick War, which was the largest Indian uprising in history, and Osceola, who refused to sign a treaty with the United States.
The homeland affects you directly: it affects your body; it affects the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective spirit.