Osage wall hanging. (All photos taken by Marylin Warner)

Osage wall hanging.

Native American art wall arrangement at Mt. St. Frances. (All photos taken by Marylin Warner)

Native American art wall arrangement at Mt. St. Frances. (All photos taken by Marylin Warner)

Kirby Sattler's posters are popular art at Territory Days. The one on the right may look familiar; it inspired Johnny Depp's costume in THE LONE RANGER.

Kirby Sattler’s posters are popular art in galleries and at Territory Days. The one on the right may look familiar if you recognize Johnny Depp’s costume in THE LONE RANGER.

In the state of Kansas, twelve counties are named for Indian tribes. Depending on which route I take each month when I drive to visit my mother—the interstate and main highways, or the blue highways—I drive through at least four of these counties.

Here are a few samples of my favorite Native American Indian quotes.

~ from Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa) Pawnee: “…All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, the fair and the ugly… We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two.”

~ from Mourning Dove Salish (1888-1936): “…Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.”

“They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind.” ~Tuscarora

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~Dakota

“No words are so eloquent as a rattlesnake’s tail.” ~Navajo

“You can’t wake a person who pretends to be asleep.” ~Navajo

“There is no death, only a change of worlds.” ~Pawnee and Shawnee

And this Cherokee quote was in a Kansas Original shop: “When the white man discovered this country, Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, women did all the work. White man was wrong to think he could improve on a system like this.”

About the time my mother and I tried frying dandelion blossoms, (Fried Dandelions post) we also tried making FRY BREAD, a popular side dish at cafes and food stands serving Indian foods. Here’s the recipe we used:

In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 1 T. baking powder, 1 t. seasoning salt or table salt, and 1 cup steaming tap water. Grease your hands with vegetable oil, shape the dough into a ball, and leave in the bowl. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place for at least 30 minutes. Setting the bowl in a sunny place works extra well.

Heat vegetable oil at least 1 inch deep in a fry pan or electric skillet (around 375 degrees). Make a ball of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and flatten in your greased hand until it’s about the size of a large cookie. Poke a small hole in the center with your finger and carefully lay the dough in the hot oil. Let dough fry to a gold brown before turning it over and frying the other side. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Fry Bread has two uses.  You can put meat, cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions and lettuce on Fry Bread for a main dish.  Or you can do what Mom and I did:  spread it with butter and sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar for a dessert.

September 25 is NATIVE AMERICAN DAY. That gives you plenty of time to make your Fry Bread, appreciate Indian art, look for interesting quotes, and maybe even read Hal Borland’s book, WHEN THE LEGENDS DIE, or Dee Brown’s BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. Both books will make you want to wear a t-shirt that says “INDIAN LIVES MATTER”


Kansas' twelve counties named for Indian tribes.

Kansas’ twelve counties named for Indian tribes.



Filed under art, Cooking With Mom, Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, Indian Lives Matter, just doing the best we can, life questions, recipes, special quotations, Spiritual connections

57 responses to “ALL THINGS ARE TWO

  1. Nancy Saltzman

    YUMMY! I think your mom and you have the right idea about how to fix Fry Bread! Loved the quotes, too!

  2. Thanks, Nancy. And if you combine it with fried dandelion flowers, you have quite an unusual meal. 🙂 But we’ll have to wait until next spring’s crop of dandelions, so it’ll have to just be Fry Bread for awhile!

  3. I’ve always been fond of the Native Indian sayings. In truth they predict things that have come to pass about us not taking care of the land and the animals. Their way of life seemed to be in harmony with their existence in ways ours has never been, could never be.
    I love the hope of the Shawnee and Pawnee with “There is no death, only a change of worlds.” A hope I share so I might see Julia again.
    xxx Massive Hugs Marylin xxx

    • We both have the same hope, David. While meeting in the next life is a belief found in many religions and cultures, the simple and straightforward Indian interpretation of just changing worlds is very comforting to me. Massive Hugs to you, too, dear David.

  4. that fry bread sounds yummy.

  5. And if you make enough, Maureen, you can have a full meal or main course and dessert! 😉

  6. I enjoy reading American Indian quotes and often find meaning in them. Thanks for posting them. I am so tempted to try your Indian bread.

    • Thanks, Gerlinde. With your talents, I think the Fry Bread could be the basis for something wonderful and delicious. In the recipe it’s a basic bread without a great deal of flavor on its own. As for the quotes, I enjoy them because there are often several meanings in each one.

  7. Your post got me thinking about native American Indian place names I have known in both Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and Florida, where I live now.

    When I fly into Middletown, PA, the plane crosses over the Susquehanna River just before landing. The land we just sold in Bainbridge was situated in Conoy Township, named for an Indian tribe.

    Of course Florida is replete with poly-syllabic Indian names: The capital, Tallahassee, and other cities: Pensacola, Homosassa Springs, Kissimmee, FL, Ichtucknee Springs, famous for tubing; our famous football teams, the Gators of the University of Florida located in Alachua county; the currently winning FSU team are know as the Seminoles.

    You may have heard too of the Okefenokee Swamp, which straddles the FL/GA border. Always fun to pronounce!

    To add to your theme of “twos” – a quote from Warrior Soul which sounds a lot like the one you quote from Indian Chief Pawnee: Inside each of us is two souls, one is evil; one is good. Which one wins? The one we feed the most. Just now a quote from John Updike popped into my head too: “The U.S. is still the U.S., held together by credit cards and Indian names.”

    I have deep respect for Indian wisdom. Thank you too for including the fry bread recipe too. I probably already have the ingredients it calls for. Great post, Marylin!

    • Thank you, Marian. Our country is filled with rivers, towns, roads, etc. that reflect the Indian connections.
      Your quote from Warrior Soul rounds out Indian Chief Pawnee’s very well, but the quote that surprised me was John Updike’s. I’d never heard it before. The Fry Bread is fun to make, but add to it at will for extra flavor! 😉

  8. Your mom’s version of fry bread must have tasted delicious, Marylin! Thanks for including the recipe. Enjoy your long weekend. 🙂

    • You, too, Tracy. This is our Labor Day weekend, which means Colorado is busy with tourists and hikers and campers. We’ll just stay home and have leisurely meals on the deck…maybe even some Fry Bread! 🙂

  9. I am not sure if the Cherokee philosophy of the women doing all the work would resonate with me 🙂

  10. I also love all these words of wisdom from the Fist Nations people. Many Canadian towns and cities have names such as Coquitlam, Kitsilano, Assiniboine and Tsawwassen (where I lived for 14 years), all names of First Nations tribes. Of course the capital of Canada is Ottawa!

    • It’s such a shame that so many tribes are almost gone now, Darlene, and that much of it was the fault of bad treaties and forced removals. Yet still the tribal names remain in both of our countries; I just wish it carried more respect and a tribute.

  11. I waited a long time before reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, in a sense I am glad I did. It leave one with a very large question about who we are as a nation. Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt is a volume that will forever grace my bookshelves … Thank you for sharing these thoughts!

    • You’re very welcome, and I appreciate your comment. Both BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE and WHEN THE LEGENDS DIE left me with many questions, plus a sadness for all the damage. I added the t-shirt reference–Indian Lives Matter–as a reminder that many groups have suffered greatly. All our lives matter.

  12. Don

    Beautiful post Marylin. I love the quotes. Such wisdom.

  13. Claudia

    Love everything in this post. Really love fry bread. Love Indian Tacos too. I had a special trip with my dad nearly 25 years ago…we went to California to see his dying brother. Coming back he took me to a place at edge of Navajo Reservation for Indian Taco…best I ever had…covered a huge dinner plate and I could not eat it all. Funny, how one meal can stick in your mind.

    • One meal certainly does stick in my mind, Claudia. I was 15 and on a church youth trip in Mexico. In Mexico City we had nice dinner, and we were encouraged to order authentic meals. I ordered green chilis instead of red with my meal because red just sounded hotter. Whoa! was I wrong. After one big bite, I’m not sure I could even swallow for a full day!

  14. Wonderful quotes Marylin and I also like the idea of a change of worlds. I haven’t see Jonny Depp as The Lone Ranger. I’m still watching Clayton Moore.

    • Johnny Depp is Tonto in this newest version, Andrew, and when you see his makeup you’ll recognize it from the Kirby Sattler print. Depp’s dry humor and silent expressions steal the show.
      Like you, I’m drawn to death being a change of worlds.

  15. Marylin … When we lived in Central New York, we lived near two Indian reservations – the Onondagas and the Oneidas. Farther north was Mohawk territory on the U.S.-Canadian border. I have great respect for the Native Americans. It’s disgraceful how they’ve been treated by those who they first welcomed to North America’s shores.

    With a couple of exceptions, I accept Mourning Dove Salish’s quote – “…Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” Just what is the use of a mosquito or a Love bug? 😉

    That fry bread with cinnamon and sugar sounds delish.

    • Fry bread is certainly better with cinnamon and sugar, Judy, much better than plain. Like you, I think it’s disgraceful how they were treated. In my English classes when we read WHEN THE LEGENDS DIE and BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, it triggered strong responses from students who just couldn’t believe any of that was possible. Oh, the power of books.

  16. Molly

    Great job, Mom. This definitely makes me want an Indian lives matter t-shirt! ☺
    I had no idea so many Kansas counties were Indian named, very cool. I think that week of Indian day, I may incorporate some Indian projects into my classroom.
    The only thing I can’t figure out from your post was why you didn’t include my Indian weaving loom I made in 3rd grade!

    Love you!

    • Love you, too, Mookie. Hmm…I remember you telling me not to post a picture of your Indian weaving hand loom AGAIN! 🙂 Dad and I will have that on our wall with the professional artifacts forever! I think we should have the kids make them, too!
      I think your students might be very interested in Indian activities on the 25th. You always come up with such good ideas, and we might be there to “assist” you!

  17. Some great quotes here, Marylin. The concept of things being either fair or ugly – nothing between the two! – will stick with me.

    As you probably know, Native American culture is very prevalent in OK, too. Years ago (ok, decades ago) I worked at a restaurant called “Indian Hills” – fry bread was one of the specialties. Good stuff!

    • Oh, yes, how I know, Shel. Fort Scott is in the southeast corner of Kansas, and Oklahoma is also home to some excellent writing conferences and women writers.
      When you worked at Indian Hills, did you make any of the Fry Bread yourself? The recipe Mom and I used always felt like it need more to make it really good, so I wonder if our recipe was missing something.

      • I didn’t make it – just served a batrillion baskets of it!

        Please let me know if you’re ever out here for a writing conference – I almost always to to the OWFI one in May. Would love to meet you in person! As a matter of fact, I have a little guest house that would accommodate a writer and her spouse quite nicely!

      • Thank you, Shel, for the wonderful offer. It would be a treat to meet you in person, too. I’ll watch for the conference.

  18. I enjoyed your post, Marylin! It evoked good memories of road trips and times with my grandparents in northern Wisconsin, where Native American history and influence (and sadly, to a lesser degree, presence) were a part of everyday life.

    • I’m amazed at the many Indian influences and references across the country, Jane, and yet there are so few remaining tribes. One of my favorite Indian writers is Sherman Alexie. for his real, honest, poignant and humorous but touching stories, especially The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

  19. “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~Dakota
    I love that quote, Marylin. Great stuff!
    Thanks for sharing the fry bread recipe…it sounds delicious. xo

  20. Indian lives and messages matter, so true! I enjoy how you add some fantastic holidays each month that I miss in my monthly calrndars, Marylin.
    Not sure if you read that my Mom three Sundays ago, slipped on wet grass and fell down an incline, while walking Nicki. She shattered her hip but had excellent surgery. I went up for a few days, now back for Labor Day. I am up visiting and really have had a good visit, despite eating in the rehabilitation center and going to therapy 🙂

    • Oh, Robin, I’m so glad her surgery went well. That was quite a fall, and hip healing is a lengthy process, so I’m glad you could be with her.
      When my mom “popped” her hip out of the socket, it took only a fall getting from her bedroom to the living room in her little apartment, but we were amazed how well the surgeon screwed it back into the socket. They can do so much now, and i wish your mom–and you–the very best.

  21. What a beautiful post Marylin. I love the Indian sayings. My favorite is “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~Dakota. I love how the Indians lived off the land, the earth giving them what they needed.
    My daughter told me last night that when she completes her MBA (a few years from now!) she’d love to someday be a sustainable farmer. I think the Indians set the example of how to treat nature respectfully and lovingly.
    xo Joanne

    • What a wonderful goal your daughter has, Joanne! Sustainable farming is drawing many now, and the articles about their processes and successes are fascinating. I hope you’ll include her in your posts when she begins living on the land!
      The “tracks” quote is one of my favorites, too.

  22. Great quotes Marylin, my favourite is the ‘tracks we leave’ quote, so true and makes us think about how we live our lives. Your fry bread sounds a lot different to the ‘fried bread’ I grew up with – which was basically a slice of bread fried in lard (at the time) – now most likely to be vegetable oil – plain, tasty but not too healthy!

    • So your Fry Bread was more like French toast, but without dipping it first in the milk and egg? I don’t think my recipe is much healthier than yours, Andrea, and it wasn’t all that tasty until we added butter and cinnamon and sugar. 🙂

  23. Ive been fascinated with Indian culture all my life – since watching old black and white cowboy/Indian movies as a child! A friend of my parents bought back some beaded jewellery for my sister and me after a trip to the States years and years ago – we were thrilled. I also love that ‘tracks we leave’ quote. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched ‘Dances With Wolves.’

    • I love your example of getting the beaded jewelry, Jenny. The UK flavor of a child watching cowboy and Indian movies is charming. Traditionally, at least in my generation, the cowboys always got the most cheers, but by the time I was in college and reading the books I mentioned in the post, my loyalties had definitely shifted.

  24. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Wonderful fall post! Love to smell the frybread at the State Fair but that’s about enough for me!

    • My guess is that the State Fair version is more flavorful and enhanced, Nancy. Even when my mom and I made it, without slathering on the cinnamon and sugar or jam, it still didn’t make up eat much of it. 😉

  25. i love this story Marylin …and i love the Indians textile ha ha! in our country we have indans too we called it ” indianero ” ha ha!

  26. Nice post, thanks for sharing. Love the quotes, such wisdom and humour, combined. Fun. Might even try the bread! 🙂

  27. Jim

    I remember an informational sign in Canyonlands National Park, home of the ancient Anasazi people, who built the famous cliff dwellings and somehow survived for 900 years in a very difficult, forbidding region. The sign was located near the “Hotel Rock” cliff dwelling, accessible only by a gnarly 4X4 road. The sign explained that survival meant filling the “granary” with maize during the fall harvest. The maize field lay in a small clearing hundreds of feet below. To ensure a harvest, the women carried precious water to the field every morning of the hot summer days to water every single little plant by hand with a measured amount of water. What were the men doing in the meantime? The sign didn’t say, but I doubt they were sleeping in, as suggested by the Cherokee’s humorous quotation above. Survival on a subsistence level in that harsh environment would require a full-time effort from every community member, including children. Somehow I don’t feel that anyone had it easy in this ancient culture. To these people, who are the ancestors of today’s Puebloans, I tip my hat as a humble gesture of respect. They are a testament to the ever-present power of the human spirit to survive in the midst of extreme challenges. We modern earth-dwellers should take heart from the Anasazi. We have it in us from the very beginning to overcome any and all difficult and complex issues our world community now faces.

    Anyhow, Marylin, that’s what I felt the day I read the sign three years ago on a hot summer day and envisioned the women carrying measured amounts of water to the field below. So I still remind myself that we today might do better to persevere instead of throwing up our hands in surrender while proclaiming, “Yep, here comes Armageddon.” Maybe better we take to heart your quotation from Mourning Dove Salish, “Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” Amen, I say.

    • Thanks for sharing this, sweetie. Wow. You wrote it so beautifully and with such details. I should have made you my guest writer to help with this post. Like you, I doubt either the men or the women were idle, and probably even the children had chores that helped them survive. A very early and basic “family farm” system.

  28. Wonderful post Marylin and I am so excited to have the recipe for fry bread. I spent a summer in South Dakota working for the Indian Health Services when I was working on my doctorate in pharmacy. Fry bread was my all time favorite food while there.

    • Wow, Robyn. You Fry Bread must have had some secret ingredients that made yours much better than my bread.
      Were you also into photography when you worked in South Dakota? With your talent for capturing a strong blend of truth and beauty, you could have some wonderful portraits, I think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s