How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?
If we do not own the freshness of the air
and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore,
every mist in the dark woods,
every clearing 'n' humming insect is
holy in our memory and experience.
We are part of the Earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters,
the deer, the horse, the great eagle,
these are our brothers.
The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows,
the body of the pony, and the man, all belong together.
Washington wishes to buy our land.
Great White Chief sends word he will reserve us a place
so that we can live and comfortably die.
He will be our father and we will be his children.
Oh, so nice! Another lie.
I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie,
left behind by the white man
who shot them from a passing train.
White man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.
They are to kill for joy, with no brain.
The air is precious to us, for the beast, the tree, the man,
they all share the same breath.
The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath
also receives his last sigh.
This shining water that moves in streams and rivers
is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.
It is sacred and each ghostly reflection
in the clear water of the lakes tells of events of our lives.
There is no quiet place in the white man's cities.
No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring,
or the rustle of an insect's wings.
The clatter only seems to insult their ears.
We prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond,
and the smell of the wind itself,
cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with the pinon pine.
Teach your children that the ground beneath their feet
is the ashes of our grandfathers.
Men spit upon themselves, if they spit upon the ground.
May you, white men discover one day,
that our God and your God is the same.
You may think now that you own Him
as you wish to own our land, but you cannot.
Whites too, shall pass, perhaps sooner than all other tribes.