HomeCulture20 Quotes by Indigenous Women to Guide the Fight For Equal Rights

20 Quotes by Indigenous Women to Guide the Fight For Equal Rights

Listen to Native American Women. Quotes that Smash The Patriarchy

During this time in history, as we watch the US government strip away more people’s rights with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we must listen to the wisdom of Native American Women who have been enduring racism, sexism, and suffering unspeakable atrocities since white people came to their country. Often, women’s stories are lost or left out of history books. Indigenous women’s stories, thoughts, and insights are more valuable now than ever before. We’ve gathered quotes by Indigenous Women that can be used to guide us as we continue the fight for equality for all.

20 Quotes by Indigenous Women

These Native American Women’s quotes should stay with you throughout your life as a source of inspiration and motivation as we strive to win what is rightfully ours: equal rights for all.

“To this day, reproductive health decisions in Indian Country are regulated by the federal government through IHS, the healthcare facilities on reservations that most Native American women depend upon because private health insurance isn’t affordable. Historically, IHS has been extremely slow to offer access to important healthcare needs, like rape kits and contraceptives, and access to abortion is even more foreign.”

Allie Young, Diné woman, storyteller, and entertainment activist

“Indigenous women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the U.S., and IHS policies indicate that access to abortion, if offered at all, is limited to instances of rape, incest, or when a mother’s life is threatened. In addition to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on reservations like the Navajo Nation, these reproductive health challenges for Indigenous women are exposing the poor healthcare infrastructure and access in Indigenous communities. This points to the federal government’s failure to meet yet another treaty obligation to tribal nations, which was the assurance of quality healthcare for all tribal citizens. These reproductive health disparities and injustices are appalling, and if this is new information to you, then reproductive advocacy spaces are also failing to be inclusive and intersectional in a time that demands racial equity and justice.”

Allie Young, Diné woman, storyteller, and entertainment activist

“A man who looks first to a woman’s outer beauty will never know her beauty divine, for there is dust upon his eyes and he is blind. But a man who sees in a woman the spirit of the Great One and sees her beauty first in spirit and truth, that man will know “Divinity” in that woman.”

White Buffalo Calf Woman

“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)

native american women quotes, quotes, national indigenous peoples day

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.
―Sarah Winnemucca

“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.
―Sarah Winnemucca

If women could go into your Congress, I think justice would soon be done to the Indians.
―Sarah Winnemucca

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.
―Joy Harjo

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.
―Joy Harjo

The homeland affects you directly: it affects your body; it affects the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective spirit.
―Joy Harjo

The secret to our success is that we never give up.
Wilma Mankiller

Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.
Wilma Mankiller

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Annette Benedetti
Annette Benedettihttps://sheexploreslife.com
Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away from her desk she can be found teaching women yoga at wilderness retreats, exploring new cities across the states and hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier—one of her favorite places on earth.