Father Sky, Mother Eaarth


Yonder sky has wiped his tears away.
Today is fair.
Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.
But my words are like the stars that never change.
The Great Chief of the White Man at Washington
sends us the word that he wishes to buy our land.


How can you buy or sell the sky,
the warmth of the land?
The idea is strange to us.
If we do not own the freshness of the air
and the sparkle of the water,
how can you buy them?


Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle,
every sandy shore,
every mist of dark woods,
every humming insect.
All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.


We know the sap which courses through the trees
as we know the blood that courses through our veins.
We are part of the earth and it is part of us.


The perfumed flowers are our sisters.
The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers.
The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony,
and man, all belong to the same family.


The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers
is not just water,
but the blood of my grandfather's grandfather.
The water's murmur
is the voice of my grandmother's grandmother.
Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes
tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The rivers are our brothers.
They quench our thirst.
They carry our canoes and feed our children.
So, White Man,
you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

The air is precious to us.
The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
The wind that gave me my first breath
also will receive my last sigh.
So, White Man,
you must keep it apart and sacred,
as a place where man can go to taste the wind
that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.


The White Man's dead forget the country of their birth
when they go to walk among the stars.
The Red Man's dead never forget this beautiful earth,
for it is the mother of our people.

The ground beneath your feet
is the ashes of our grandfathers and grandmothers.
The earth is rich with the lives of our kin.


The White Man treats his mother earth, and his father sky,
as things to be bought, sold like sheep or bright beads.
His appetite will devour the earth
and leave behind only a desert.

The sight of the White Man's cities pains the Red Man's eyes.
The clatter of the White Man's cities only insults the Red Man's ears.P.22

The Red Man prefers
the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond,
and the smell of the wind itself,
cleaned by rain or scented with the pine corn.
What is the meaning of life
if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill
or arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?


I do not understand
how the smorking iron horse can be more important
than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

I really do not unserstand what the White Man want.

What will happen
when the buffalo are all slaughtered?
The wild horses tamed?
What will happen
when the secret corners of the forest
are heavy with the scent of many men?


What is man without the beast?
If all the beast were gone,
man would die from the great loneliness of spirit.

The earth does not belong to man.
Man belongs to the earth.


What will happen
when the view of the ripe hills is blotted by the talking wires?
Where will the thicket be?
Where will the eagle be?
And what will happen
when we say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt?
The end of living
and the beginning of survival.


When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness
and his memory is
only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie,
will these shores and forests still be here?
Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?


One thing we know,
there is only one God.
Our God is also your God.
He is the God of man.
No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart.
His compassion is equal for the Red Man and the White Man.
We are brothers after all.

As we are part of the land,
you too are part of the land.
This earth is precious to us,
it is also precious to you.

So, White Man,
will you teach your children
what we have taught our children?
The earth is our mother.
What befalls the earth
befalls all the son and the daughter of the earth.


All things are connected
like the blood that unites us all.
Man did not weave the web of life,
he is merely a strand in it.


We love this earth
as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat.
If we have to sell you our land,
White Man,
please care for it
as we have cared for it.
Hold in your mind the memory of the land
as it is when you receive it.
Preserve the land for all children
and love it
as we have loved it.


Please love it, forever.




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