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Native American History Quotes

They Said It

"You are mistaken in supposing you are a free and independent nation. . . . You are a subdued people, you have been overcome in war in which you entered into with us."

- American commissioner to Iroquois representatives negotiating the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 178428
"The Indians, being the prior occupants, possess the right of the soil. It cannot be taken from them unless by their free consent, or by the right of conquest in case of a just war. To dispossess them on any other principle, would be a gross violation of the fundamental laws of nature, and of that distributive justice which is the glory of a nation."

- Secretary of War Henry Knox, 178929
"I have signed my death warrant."

- Cherokee leader Major Ridge upon signing the Treaty of New Echota, 183530
"Kill the Indian . . . save the man."

- Military officer turned Indian educator Richard Henry Pratt, 189231
"They danced without rest, on and on. . . . Occasionally someone thoroughly exhausted and dizzy fell unconscious into the center and lay there 'dead.' . . . After a while, many lay about in that condition. They were now 'dead' and seeing their dear ones. . . . The visions . . . ended the same way, like a chorus describing a great encampment of all the Dakotas who had ever died, where . . . there was no sorrow but only joy, where relatives thronged out with happy laughter. . . . The people went on and on and could not stop, day or night, hoping. . . to get a vision of their own dead. . . . And so I suppose the authorities did think they were crazy—but they were not. They were only terribly unhappy."

- A Lakota Sioux, on the Ghost Dance32
"It was a hot, clear day and no wind. There was a great dust from fighting, but no storm after the battle."

- Young Two Moons, a Northern Cheyenne remembering the battle at the Little Big Horn, 190733
"Remember the Little Big Horn."

- The battle cry of the Seventh Cavalry at Wounded Knee, according to Indian survivors, 189034

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