101 Native American Proverbs


1 – Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts. – Hopi

2 – Day and night cannot dwell together. – Duwamish

3 – It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. – Apache

4 – They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. – Tuscarora

5 – All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them. – Arapaho

6 – Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand. – Tribe Unknown

7 – Before eating, always take time to thank the food. – Arapaho

8 – When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. – Arapaho

9 – If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come. – Arapaho

10 – Most of us do not look as handsome to others as we do to ourselves. – Assiniboine

11 –  Those that lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. – Blackfoot

12 – In age, talk ; in childhood, tears. – Hopi

13 – We always return to our first loves. – Tribe Unknown

14 – What is life ? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. – Blackfoot

15 – When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. – Cherokee

16 – Those who have one foot in the canoe, and one foot in the boat, are going to fall into the river. – Tuscarora

17 – The weakness of the enemy makes our strength. – Cherokee

18 – When the white man discovered this country, Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, women did all the work. White man thought he could improve on a system like this. – Cherokee

19 – A good soldier is a poor scout. – Cheyenne

20 –  Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man. – Sioux

21 – We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. – Dakota

22 – Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins. – Cheyenne

23 – There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnakes tail. – Navajo

24 – Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance. – Lakota

25 – Our first teacher is our own heart. – Cheyenne

26 – Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something. – Maricopa

27 – All who have died are equal. –  Comanche

28 –  Remember that your children are not your own, but are lent to you by the Creator. – Mohawk

29 – One rain does not make a crop. – Creole

30 – Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same. – Crow

31 –  What the people believe is true. – Anishinabe

32 – You already possess everything necessary to become great. – Crow

33 – There is no death, only a change of worlds. – Duwamish

34 –  Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way. – Blackfoot

35 –  You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. – Navajo

36 –  It is less of a problem to be poor, than to be dishonest. – Anishinabe

37 – One finger cannot lift a pebble. –  Hopi

38 –  Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark. – Cheyenne

39 – All dreams spin out from the same web. – Hopi

40 – He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone. – Seneca

41 – Even a small mouse has anger. – Tribe Unknown

42 – If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove. – Cheyenne

43 – Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. – Tribe Unknown

44 –  The rainbow is a sign from Him who is in all things. – Hopi

45 – Walk lightly in the spring ;  Mother Earth is pregnant. – Kiowa

46 – When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard. – Lakota

47 – Old age is not as honorable as death, but most people want it. – Crow

48 – Many have fallen with the bottle in their hand. – Lakota

49 – Everything the power does, it does in a circle. – Lakota

50 – A brave man dies but once, a coward many times. – Tribe Unknown.

51 – A man or woman with many children has many homes. – Lakota Sioux 

52 – Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, Wisdom is of the future. – Lumbee

53 – If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. – Minquass

54 – A good chief gives, he does not take. – Mohawk

55 – Coyote is always out there waiting, and Coyote is always hungry. – Navajo

56 – Listening to a liar is like drinking warm water. – Tribe Unknown

57 – Every animal knows more than you do. – Nez Perce

58 – To touch the earth is to have harmony with nature. – Oglala Sioux

59 – When a fox walks lame, the old rabbit jumps. – Oklahoma

60 – A starving man will eat with the wolf. – Oklahoma

61 – A danger foreseen is half-avoided. – Cheyenne

62 – The coward shoots with shut eyes. – Oklahoma

63 – It is easy to be brave from a distance. – Omaha

64 – The bird who has eaten cannot fly with the bird that is hungry. – Omaha

65 – Ask questions from you heart and you will be answered from the heart. – Omaha

66 – A hungry stomach makes a short prayer. – Paiute

67 – Do not wrong or hate your neighbor for it is not he that you wrong but yourself. – Pima

68 – Make my enemy brave and strong, so that if defeated, I will not be ashamed. – Plains

69 – Cherish youth, but trust old age. – Pueblo

70 – Sharing and giving are the ways of God. – Sauk

71 – We are all one child spinning through Mother Sky. – Shawnee

72 – Each person is his own judge. – Shawnee

73 – We are made from Mother Earth and we go back to Mother Earth. – Shenandoah

74 – It is no longer good enough to cry peace, we must act peace, live peace and live in peace. – Shenandoah

75 – There are many good moccasin tracks along the trail of a straight arrow. – Sioux

76 – A rocky vineyard does not need a prayer, but a pick ax. – Navajo

77 – With all things and in all things, we are relatives. – Sioux

78 – The one who tells the stories rules the world. – Hopi

79 – The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. – Sioux

80 – A people without a history is like the wind over buffalo grass. – Sioux

81 – The moon is not shamed by the barking of dogs. – Southwest

82 – Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your Mother and all things as your Brothers and Sisters.  – Tribe Unknown

83 – Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand. – Tribe Unknown

84 – White men have too many chiefs. – Nez Perce

85 – If a man is to do something more than human, he must have more than human powers. – Tribe Unknown

86 – The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears. – Tribe Unknown

87 – Wisdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start living the life the Creator intended for you. – Hopi

88 – Not every sweet root gives birth to sweet grass. – Tribe Unknown

89 – Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it. – Arapaho

90 – It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. – Tribe Unknown

91 – Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today. – Cherokee

92 – No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning. – Tribe Unknown

93 – Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf. – Tribe Unknown

94 – Man has responsibility, not power. – Tuscarora

95 – The rain falls on the just and the unjust. – Hopi

96 – Each bird loves to hear himself sing. – Arapaho

97 – The way of the troublemaker is thorny. – Umpqua

98 – God gives us each a song. – Ute

99 – A man must make his own arrows. – Winnebago

100 – After dark all cats are leopards. – Zuni

101 – When you die, you will be spoken of as those in the sky, like the stars. – Yurok




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