"The painting of our faces for dancing is a tradition. A lot of people think this is war paint, or clowning around. It is one's identification with one's deeper self. The four red marks represent the four directions, which is sacred to Native people. The white side represents peace and serenity, which I choose. The black side stands for death, destruction. As we say, 'It is a good day to die.' That means even though I want peace, I would stand up for my family or for the right thing if I had to. Death to me can be good. It's not something to fear; it is part of the way of life.

I try to speak with my heart, not my head. when I go to the schools to speak, I don't plan what I'm going to say. I ask for guidance so that I will say the right thing. I believe in teaching people in a positive manner, so they can have a deeper knowledge and understanding of these things. If you do something from your heart, what's going to come back to you is nothing but good. If somebody tried to take advantage of you, it would come back to them.

We have to follow white people's laws too, but we have our own laws to follow. The laws of the hawk, the laws of the trees, the laws of nature. The ways of our people (Cherokee) went underground. The books lie. They say that we worship those things. We do recognize that everything is alive, but we don't worship those things, or those spirits. The spirit is a focus for the moment; an intermediary. There is only one God, one Creator, for all of us."

Diamond Brown, Cherokee

Diamond Brown, Eastern Band Cherokee