Cows run away from the storm while the buffalo charges toward it - and gets through it quicker. Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment, I become the buffalo.
An Indian is an Indian regardless of the degree of Indian blood or which little government card they do or do not possess.
The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.
If you argue with a fool, someone passing by will not be able to tell who is the fool and who is not.
Remember that I am just a woman who is living a very abundant life.
Every step I take forward is on a path paved by strong Indian women before me.
A lot of young girls have looked to their career paths and have said they'd like to be chief. There's been a change in the limits people see.
I've run into more discrimination as a woman than as an Indian.
I think the most important issue we have as a people is what we started, and that is to begin to trust our own thinking again and belive in ourselves enough to think that we can articulate our own vision of the future and then work to make sure that that vision becomes a reality.
It should be remembered that hundreds of people of African ancestry also walked the Trail of Tears with the Cherokee during the forced removal of 1838-1839. Although we know about the terrible human suffering of our native people and the members of other tribes during the removal, we rarely hear of those black people who also suffered.
Friends describe me as someone who likes to sing and dance along the edge of the roof. I try to encourage young women to be willing to take risks, to stand up for the things they believe in, and to step up and accept the challenge of serving in leadership roles.
My ability to survive personal crises is really a mark of the character of my people. Individually and collectively, we must react with a tenacity that allows us again and again to bounce back from adversity.
Everybody is sitting around saying, 'Well, jeez, we need somebody to solve this problem of bias.' That somebody is us. We all have to try to figure out a better way to get along.
Every single person has leadership ability.
Some step up and take them. Some don't. My answer was to step up and lead.
We must trust our own thinking. Trust where we're going. And get the job done.
Women in leadership roles can help restore balance and wholeness to our communities.
I want to be remembered as the person who helped us restore faith in ourselves.
Individually and collectively, Cherokee people possess an extraordinary ability to face down adversity and continue moving forward.
Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.
Growth is a painful process.
America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking.
Negative thoughts were treated by Cherokee healers with the same medicines as wounds, headaches, or physical illness. It was believed that unchecked negative thoughts can permeate the being and manifest themselves in negative actions.
We celebrate Thanksgiving along with the rest of America, maybe in different ways and for different reasons. Despite everything that's happened to us since we fed the Pilgrims, we still have our language, our culture, our distinct social system. Even in a nuclear age, we still have a tribal people.
People say that crisis changes people and turns ordinary people into wiser or more responsible ones.
One of the things my parents taught me, and I'll always be grateful as a gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me; that for me to define myself. and I think that helped me a lot in assuming a leadership position.
I learned a long time ago that I can't control the challenges the creator sends my way, but I can control the way I think about them and deal with them
A significant number of people believe tribal people still live and dress as they did 300 years ago. During my tenure as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, national news agencies requesting interviews sometimes asked if they could film a tribal dance or if I would wear traditional tribal clothing for the interview. I doubt they asked the president of the United States to dress like a pilgrim for an interview.
It's like everybody's sitting there and they have some kind of veil over their face, and they look at each other through this veil that makes them see each other through some stereotypical kind of viewpoint. If we're ever gonna collectively begin to grapple with the problems that we have collectively, we're gonna have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level.
The happiest people I've ever met, regardless of their profession, their social standing, or their economic status, are people that are fully engaged in the world around them. The most fulfilled people are the ones who get up every morning and stand for something larger than themselves. They are the people who care about others, who will extend a helping hand to someone in need or will speak up about an injustice when they see it.
Western movies always seemed to show Indian women washing clothes at the creek and men with a tomahawk or spear in their hands, adorned with lots of feathers. That image has stayed in some people's minds. Many think we're either visionaries, `noble savages,' squaw drudges or tragic alcoholics. We're very rarely depicted as real people who have greater tenacity in terms of trying to hang on to our culture and values system than most people.
Growth is a painful process. If we’re ever going to collectively begin to grapple with the problems that we have collectively, we’re going to have to move back the veil and deal with each other on a more human level.
Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future.
We are a revitalized tribe. After every major upheaval, we have been able to gather together as a people to rebuild a community and a government. Individually and collectively, Cherokee people possess an extraordinary ability to face down adversity and continue moving forward. We are able to do that because our culture, though certainly diminished, has sustained us since time inmemorial. This Cherokee culture is a well-kept secret.
Take care how you place your moccasins upon the Earth, step with care, for the faces of the future generations are looking up from the Earth waiting their turn for life.
I hope many of you will be people that question why things are and why we have to do them the way we have always done them. I hope you will take some risks, exert some real leadership on issues, and if you will, dance along the edge of the roof as you continue for life.
Look forward. Turn what has been done into a better path.
I don't think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.