Native American Maxims on Hospitality

The Native Americans are one of the oldest groups in North America and have a rich history which includes quite a few stories about hospitality. Here’s some great maxims that will give you an idea on how to show your guests kindness.

The “native american buffalo quotes” are a set of maxims that are used to teach hospitality. The maxims were created by Native Americans in order to teach them how to be hospitable to guests.

Vitnage native american in front of teepee with horse.

The following passage on “Teepee Etiquette – The Unwritten Law of the Lodge” was taken from Ernest Thompson Seton’s The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore (1912). “Primarily through observations of real behavior, but in many instances from formal instruction,” Seton says he acquired these maxims about American Indian hospitality. They’re still often used by contemporary hosts to entertain visitors in their “teepee” (though your mother-in-law may disagree).

Teepee Etiquette — The Lodge’s Unwritten Law

Be welcoming.

Assume that your visitor is exhausted, cold, and hungry at all times.

Always offer your visitor a prominent position in the lodge and during the feast, and treat him with respect.

Never take a seat when your visitor is standing.

Rather of depriving your visitor, get hungry.

If your visitor refuses to eat anything, don’t say anything; he may be under oath.

Protect your visitor as if he were a member of the family, and feed his horse.

Don’t bother your visitor with too many inquiries about himself; he’ll tell you all you need to know.

Follow the conventions of the other man’s lodge, not your own.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever

Always return polite calls without delay.

On your way out, offer your host a little gift; small gifts are small courtesies that never offend.

Say “thank you” for every present, no matter how little.

Compliment your host, even if it means stretching the truth.

Never walk between two people who are conversing.

Never interrupt someone who is speaking.

If the young are not requested, they should not talk to individuals who are much older.

When entering or leaving the lodge, or wherever else, always give way to your elders.

Never sit while your elders are on their feet.

Never try to persuade someone to talk to you.

Speak gently, particularly in the presence of elders or outsiders.

Never put yourself in the way of a fire.

Do not look at strangers; if they stare at you hard, lower your eyes; and this is especially true for ladies.

The fire is kept by the lodge’s women, although the men should assist with the bigger wood.

When meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger in a lonely location, always greet them with a word or a salute.

Do not speak to your mother-in-law or allow her to speak to you at any moment.

Be kind.

Respect all men, but don’t grovel to any.

Silence is your credo until duty requires you to speak.

Each meal is a gift from the Great Spirit.



The “native american sayings about trees” is a collection of Native American maxims on hospitality. The sayings are from the Ojibwa, Sioux and other tribes.

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