“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
― Charles William Eliot

When I was living in New Zealand, the hostel where I was living had a small library of books left behind by travelers. They’d come and trade their book for someone else’s.

Every traveler meant not only new stories to be heard, but new books to be read.

Wisdom preserved in the form of words, printed out for the masses, purchased, read and left behind by someone who had extracted what he/she needed. The best way to passed down wisdom and knowledge.

I stumbled upon this book on my last night at the ashram. I went to take some stuff to the free bin and it was just sitting there in the book shelve. Left behind by someone.

Thank you stranger.

Someday, somewhere I’ll leave it behind as well, for someone else to read.

The book is made of short paragraphs written by different Native American chiefs but compiled by Kent Nerburn.

It explores the perspective Native Americans had on the ways of the whites and life. The tittle couldn’t of been better, The Wisdom Of The Native Americans.

I extracted a  few paragraphs about different aspects of life.

1.The Ways Of The Land


I love the land and the buffalo and will not part with it…

I want the children raised as I was… I don’t want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when we settle down we grow pale and die.

— Satanta

Kiowa Chief

2.The Ways Of Learning


Look at me — I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.

— Red Cloud


3.The Ways Of Living


When you begin a great work you can’t expect to finish it all at once; therefore do you and your brothers press on, and let nothing discourage you till you have entirely finished what you have begun […]

—- Teedyuscung


4.The Ways Of Believing


We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God, as the Catholics and Protestants do. We do not want to learn that.

We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth. But we never quarrel about God. We do not want to learn that.

—Chief Joseph

Nez Perce

5.The Betrayal Of The Land


Some of our chiefs make the claim that the land belongs to us. It is not what the Great Spirit told me. He told me that the lands belong to Him, that no people owns the land; that I was not to forget to tell this to the white people when I et them in council.

— Kanekuk

Kickapoo prophet

6.The Ways Of Dying


Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come, always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and what cannot be prevented should not be grieved for…

Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our lives — they grow everywhere.

— Big Elk

Omaha Chief

7.The Ways Of Civilization


The more I consider the condition of the white men, the more fixed becomes my opinion that, instead of gaining, they have lost much by subjecting themselves to what they call the laws and regulations of civilized societies.

— Tomochichi

Creek Chief

8.The Ways Of The Spirit


Is there not something worthy of perpetuation in our Indian Spirit of democracy, where Earth, our mother, was free to all, and no one sough to impoverish or enslave his neighbor?

— Ohiyesa

9.Heed This Words


Continue to contaminate your own bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blottled by talking wires, where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone.

— Chief Seattle

Suqwanish and Duwamis

Source: The Wisdom Of The Native Americans

Compiled and edited by Kent  Nerburn

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