The Indian's Philosophy Of Life
( Originally Published 1930 )
The Indian's daily life is his religion. He lives what he thinks and believes. He is a practical psychologist. His philosophy of living is honest appreciation; he takes nothing for granted, and he is sincerely thankful for the common things of life.
His code is to be content with what he has and not want too much. He does not think he is entitled to Nature's gifts just because he wants them. Man's wants are legion his needs are few.
He has no attachment to places or things.
He struggles toward perfection; he has one aim, one desire, one truth and that is : TO LEARN.
When bathing, he blesses the stream and thanks the stream and God for water.
When picking a plant for food, he thanks it and is grateful while eating it, knowing it gives up its little life to sustain him.
When gathering herbs for medicine, he is reverent in that the herb sacrifices its life to save his.
For every move he makes, he knows that something suffers—so he never complains about suffering.
Among Indians the greatest respect is shown the aged. To them it is obvious that with their years they must have gained wisdom out of experience.
There is no such thing as prostitution in an Indian community. There is no double standard of morality. They have no poor houses and no orphan asylums. Orphans are adopted by friends of the parents and immediately assume an equal right with the children of the new household.
Indian marriages are usually successful and the couple grow old in harmony with each other and their children.
An important feature of the red man's psychology is that he never acts hastily or through impulse, but only after deep thought and consideration, weighing all sides of a problem. The Indian is not easily fooled. His discrimination is highly developed, for he is fully aware that he must seek guidance from his higher consciousness within him-self. He is therefore not easily influenced by outward appearances.
He accepts responsibility with full labor and adversity with great patience; he argues that he must have deserved them or they would not be his.
He masters pain and emotion with self-control, and courageously meets his problems in life. And his problem is greater now than it has ever been.
He well knows that it is not enough merely to believe; he must act.
He incorporates natural, ethical and physical law into his very being, he makes them part of his daily life, the basis of his religion, and the foundation of his home. This is the essence of his whole psychology and his philosophy of living, and the very core of his being. It is true Brotherhood.
He serves Life through his body.
The Indian's psychology of life is peace and it was only when he felt the lash, the bullet and the sword of the white man that he stood at bay and fought for his rights and his freedom in his own native land. The very thing that we "intruders" sought for ourselves in his beautiful and free America we have denied the first American! The Indian was forced to become an alien in the land in which he was born !
And now for many years the Indians of America, dozens of tribes, whether Mohawk, Seminole, Iroquois or Zuni, have, alike, all buried their hatchets. They live in peace and in silence. The white man could follow the red man's example with considerable profit. The Indian is not a savage; he has laid aside his tomahawk, he no longer seeks the scalp-locks of his erstwhile selfish enemy the white man.
Would that the white man could learn to forget the hideous might of his horrible warfare of guns, gas, shells and commercialism, beside which Indian warfare was tame and puerile, and smoke a National Pipe of Peace with the Indian and an International Pipe of Peace with the world !