Native American Proverbs


Two Wolves – A Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…
‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy.
‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies,
false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you
and inside every other person, too.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather,
‘Which wolf will win?’
The old chief simply replied,
‘The one you feed.”

~ Author Unknown

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Earth, Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet
as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance
as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal
as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

An Ute Prayer

Hold On
Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday
I’ll be gone away from you.

~ A Pueblo Indian Prayer

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Comments

Native American Proverbs — 19 Comments

  1. Thank you for your understanding, for what you learnt from your life and the wisdom that you left behind for us. We have more to learn from you (the Indian Ancestors), then from our churches, temples, mosques, religious and political leaders. I am sincerely sorry for the hurt, the distruction, the disrespect to your communities, values and way of life and for the things that were taken away from you. I truly hope that one day those who respect Nature, Mother Earth, The Great Spirit of Goodness and who also follow some of the ways of your Ancestors, will put back and return those things that your Forefathers and People valued.
    In the meantime I hope and pray that those who remain will also learn to understand, respect and value some of the things the Ancestors held dear, but most of all will live and be in peace and harmony.
    Thank you once again.

  2. I am Anikua Warcry of the Coyotero San Carlos Apache Nation Carrizo Clan.

    Much of the wisdom written on this page have a value to be honored but we must remember to seek truth of origin. Some are not as they are written.

    Maashje doo nadiltsee da. Le nadzistseego ashdiinii’ii “Shiichoo ma yelhii ch’idiinii”.
    Literally: Spider not kill it not. One if one kills it what one says my Grandmother for her I killed it.

    Translates: Do not kill a spider. If you should kill one you must say “I killed it for my Grandmother.”

    This teaches children respect for life, also, since you should not kill for your Grandmother unless needed….teaches children not to play with spiders, as Apache children will do!

    This is a sample of real Apache wisdom..

  3. The native american proverbs are very close to my heart and feelings are they truly wise and thought provoking.

  4. The Native American Indians I feel are the true minders of Mother Earth they are at one with nature what they take from the earth they give back and only take what they need they are , spiritual and wise , and are at one with the Great Spirit (God) I wish I could sit with them and learn , maybe leaders of nations could find answers to wars if they took guidance from great Chiefs of long ago . And who knows one day mankind may live in peace . And one day man may show mercy and compassion upon the animal kingdom and treat them with kindness and respect , and share the bounties of the earth instead of polluting it .

  5. All the thoughts selected are really “thought provoking” and, as a teacher, I’ll make sure some are discussed in class with my students to help them develop a set of values.

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