American Indian Wisdom and Virtues…Part I

This week’s days, I was thinking about how much wisdom is lacking today. Wisdom, just in a human sense isn’t even there. My own parents had an amazing amount of human wisdom. Recently, I had been reading a book of surviving in the winter chill. I have benefitted from it. The bottom wisdom was: keep the core of the body and hands and feet warm and you’ll function well being active outside. My parents’ wisdom was like this: ‘It’s cold outside. Wrap yourself so you stay warm.’ Oh. These days people would say to that wisdom: Are you suppose to KEEP yourself WARM? (So next week these people need to go see a doctor because they are sick.)  Then there is native wisdom of how to kindle a fire, how to dry the meat over the fire, how to process pelts into useful skins. I consider myself a wise elder when it comes to the homesteading level of living, but move me to the next level down into PRIMITIVE native skills, I lack. 

Trusting Creator is wisdom is the first line of this week’s Quote. With this said our greatest need of wisdom is in being and doing what Our Creator (Jesus) wants of us in this world for which He has created us for. The native character virtues the Creator taught us in times past even before we had His revealed Word, is awe-inspiring. Roger Williams, a Baptist that became a dear friend to my forefather Great Chief Canonicus, made this statement in his notes about this subject. I found the editor’s notes in the A Key into Language in America (which is a copy of Roger’s own notes), concerning his perspective on the virtues of the natives of Turtle Island: the natives virtues were highly civilized. Meaning: they had many quality virtues. In the book Saints & Strangers by George Willson on page 228/9 also notes speaks to the same subject.  (I don’t know if the book is still copyrighted so I will paraphrase the statements.) The pilgrims had a way of making the natives appear dangerous and shady. But Thomas Wenston found them to be full of humanity and more so than many Europeans. After years of fur trading he still held to his perspective. 

In the Cherokee Trail of Tears  (available through  retold by Private John G. Burnett in 1890, John stated that in the ten years that he freely mingled with the young women and girls he never met one who was a moral prostitute. Their native virtues were strong! Roger Williams notes that the Narragansetts had a swift way of dealing with adulterers: the death penalty for both parties. That kept the society clean of immoral issues. He also notes in his book that there were no beggars among them, nor a fatherless child not cared for.

And, I wonder where the phrase ‘indian giver’ came from? Maybe it really meant the one gave to the indian and then changed his mind as a giver of his gift. The virtue of truthfulness and honesty was strong among our people.

So, we had received wisdom from the Almighty One on how He wanted His native children here to conduct themselves with one another. We have included Quote for this week. It speaks from just one of our Turtle Island Nations on the virtues taught and lived among the Lakotas. Read it. Ponder it. Let’s grow our virtues again…

I will finish here with the last verse of a poem I had previously adapted from The Hymns of the Church #37 by John Newton (1725-1807)

Dear Creator of Thy People, Hear

The hearing ear, the seeing eye,

The humbled mind bestow;

And shine upon us from on high

And we, our virtues grow.

And we, our virtues grow.

Ake wancinyankin ktelo (Lakota) See you again,


2 thoughts on “American Indian Wisdom and Virtues…Part I

  1. Pingback: The12 Lakota Virtues - Deeply Spiritual -

    • karenwhitedove says:

      Friend, I received you comment, and I deeply agree: they are quality virtues and very valuable to ponder on. Thank you for your affirmation.

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