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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Chief Lapowinsa

Lenape (Delaware)

Origin of the American Eagle Emblem

"When you begin a great work you can't expect to finish it all at once; therefore do you and your brothers press on and let nothing discourage you till you have entirely finished what you have begun."

"Now, Brother, as for me, I assure you I will press on and the contrary winds may blow strong in my face, yet I will go forward and never turn back and continue to press forward until I have finished, and I would have you do the same."

"Though you may hear birds singing on this side and that side, you must not take notice of that, but hear me when I speak to you and take it to heart, for you may always depend that what I say shall be true."


"The great man wanted only a little, little land, on which to raise greens for his soup, just as much as a bullock's hide would cover. Here we first might have observed their deceitful spirit."

Deleware oral tradition describing
the arrival of the Dutch at Manhattan Island

"I admit that there are good white men, but they bear no proportion to the bad; the bad must be the strongest, for they rule. They do what they please. They enslave those of us who are not of their color, although created by the same Great Spirit who created us. They would make slaves of us if they could, but as they cannot do it, they kill us! There is no faith to be placed in their words. They are not like the Indians who are only enemies while at war and are friends in peace. They will say to an Indian, 'my friend! my brother!' They will take him by the hand, and at the same moment destroy him. And so will you also be treated by them before long. Remember! that this day I have warned you to beware of such friends as these. I know the long knives; they are not to be trusted."

Pachgantschilhilas, Head Warrior of all Deleware

The words of Pachgantschilhilas ring true. He spoke them in the eighteenth century, and they are as full of truth now as then. And we are asked why we do not view time as a linear progression.

All life is a circle.

Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma

Delaware Executive Committee
P.O. Box 825
Anadarko, OK 73005

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.