Native youth in a packed plenary session were excited words of guidance delivered by Min. Farrakhan at their conference in Washington, D.C.

[Editor’s note:  The following article contains edited excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address at the 39th Annual United National Indian Tribal Youth (“UNITY”) Conference held in Washington, D.C. on Friday, July 10, 2015, themed “Strengthening Self-Identity; Defining the ‘U’ in UNITY.”  We encourage you to get the full DVD which includes important questions that Min. Farrakhan answered from youth in the audience.]




Every important event in the life of a Muslim is begun by seeking the help of The Creator.  I can’t think of anything more important in my life right now than to be right here with you speaking to the leaders of today and tomorrow.  So we say in our Original Language of Arabic:  Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim, Al-hamdu lillahi Rabbi l-’alamin.  In The Name of God, The Beneficent, The Merciful.  All praise belongs to God, The Lord, The Nourisher, The Sustainer and The Evolver of everything that we see in creation.  And that stage of evolution is ultimately to lead to the perfection of man, the perfection of government, and the perfection of man’s service to God to one another.


I’m honored beyond words, and I am grateful for the invitation to be here with you.  I’m very grateful to Sister YoNasDa Lonewolf, and her connection to the leadership of UNITY (, and I am honored by the invitation to be here with you this afternoon.  I love the theme: “Strengthening Self-Identity; Defining the ‘U’ in UNITY.” 

Who are you?  What is your origin in the world?  Since God never created anything without an aim and a purpose, what purpose did He give to the human being above all the creatures that He created?  The greatest knowledge of all is The Knowledge of God and The Knowledge of Self.  These two Knowledges are really one:  When you know God, you know yourself; and when you know yourself, you know God, for we are made in the image and the likeness of God. 

‘Strengthening self-identity’ begins first with our connection to The Creator

So who are you?  Where did you come from?  What makes you “you”?  The Qur’an, which is the book of scripture of the Muslims, says in Surah 4 Al-Nisa (“The Women”), verse 1 (God speaking):  “I created you from a single essence, and from that same essence I created your mate, and from these two I spread many men and women.”  And in Surah 35 Al-Fatir (“The Originator”), verse 11, He says He created everything “in pairs”:  “And Allah created you from dust, then from the life-germ, then He made you pairs. And no female bears, nor brings forth, except with His knowledge. And no one living long is granted a long life, nor is aught diminished of one’s life, but it is all in a book. Surely this is easy to Allah.” 

There’s no man without a woman, and there certainly is no woman without a man.  I love the way you pair each other together, a male and a female in all of your committee structures.  But here is the nature of us …  You know, if you look at a dog, they are different species, but all dogs have a similar nature; so you’re not excited when a dog barks, because that’s the nature of the dog.  When you meet a snake, all snakes are snakes; some are poisonous, some are not, but their nature is basically the same. 


Members of Nation of Islam delegation at Unity conference included from right YoNasDa Lonewolf, Abdul Khadir Muhammad, Abdul Arif Muhammad and Abel Muhammad. Photos: Andrea Muhammad

What is your nature?  What is my nature?  What is our nature?  If you notice:  When we come to birth, we lay horizontal, because we’re not strong enough to come up.  The nature of us is not to stay on a horizontal level; you begin on a horizontal level, and when death comes to us we lie on a horizontal level—but The Nature of Life is to walk in uprightness.  So when you see your little baby crawling, the bend of the back is maybe 33 degrees to 45 degrees above horizontal.  But when the baby finds something strong enough to pull up on, the baby will pull up into the natural position of the human being to walk in uprightness.


When a person is upright, they are morally correct.  When a person is upright, they are righteous in conduct and in character.  No wonder Dr. Martin Luther King said he hoped for the day when man and woman would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  So The Qur’an says it like this in Surah 30 Al-Rum (“The Romans”), verse 30:  “Set your face for religion being upright, the nature made by God, and the nature in which He has created all men”—so by nature you are righteous!  By circumstance, we are other than that. 

So when you know yourself, you know God; so as David the prophet said (Psalms 82:6“Ye are all gods, children of The Most High God”: When I’m looking at you, I’m looking at God.  And because I know who I’m looking at, whenever I meet you I bow with respect to you, because in respecting you I am respecting myself, and in respecting you I am respecting God.


Now some of you read scripture; for those of you who refer to yourselves as “Christian,” and are familiar with the Bible, according to the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, Jesus’ disciples one day said to him, “Master, when were you naked and we clothed you not?  When were you out of doors and we gave you not shelter?  When you were you sick and imprisoned, and we ministered not unto you?”  And pay attention to the words of Jesus:  “Inasmuch as you have not done these things to the least of these my brethren, you have not done it also unto me.”  That is the dividing line between our service to God and our service to one another.

If you begin to think because you have education that you are better than your sister or brother who doesn’t have it, if you think that because you may have some acreage of land, and someone else has none, that you are better, if you think that because you are beautiful, that you’re less fortunate brother or sister is not your equal, then you are beginning to think in a Satanic way.  Because when you think you are better, you act that way, and you put others down.

The Qur’an says in Surah 49 Al-Hujurat (“The Apartments”), verse 13:  “I created you into tribes and families, that you may know one another.” So here in front of me are over 200 tribes—but your essence starts from The Creator.  So when you think “tribal,” you think weak.  When you think at The Root, you think “Creator,” then you see us all as “family,” as “brother” and “sister.”  Strengthening your self-identity is strengthening your relationship with God, first; with each other, second.

What cements social relationships in order for ‘unity’ to occur?  

Being in America, you know what the Native people have suffered, and you know what the Native people continue to suffer.  If everything were all right we could go on and build a new world—but we have to correct problems that have been imposed on us through tyranny and oppression. 

We talk about the suicide rate among Indigenous People.  Why are we committing suicide?  What has made us so hopeless that we think we cannot master the circumstances that remove hope from us?  Why would you turn to a bottle when you are depressed?  Or to drugs when you are depressed? 



I came here today very high, yes—and I wasn’t smoking reefer.  I’m high because of my connection to The Most High Creator.  And so, though I’m 82 years of age, my skin is bright like the sun, because in my mind a Light is on! 


See, you are not just mere “man,” you are GOD.  And if you know what “God” means, it means “one having force and power.”  So God never says there’s something “I can’t do.”  God always knows He has The Power to do whatever He Wills!  And since He made us in His image and after His likeness:  The word “can’t” should never be in the vocabulary of a human being.  So since I know that I am of God, and a little god with a “little g”—but I know who I’m in the presence of:  I’m in the presence of gods.  I don’t have to die to see God; when I see you, I see Him in Whose image we were created.  So when I’m connected to God—that’s the first connection … 

And believe me, when you’re connected to God, you walk the Earth in humility, but you are not afraid of anything He created, and certainly not afraid of any man.  When you fear God, and God alone, then you see men as they are. 

We don’t bow down to power, or money, we don’t bow down to those who have the superior weapons; that they can dictate how our lives should be.  We bow down to God and determine what our life should be, and remove every impediment in the pathway of our progress.  That’s “who” you are.

That’s the “you”:  You don’t have to look too far—look at yourself, look at your brother, look at your sister.  Look at the member of your tribe; start there.  But it shouldn’t end there, because as long as you are a tribe and don’t see the unity of all then you will remain weak, and you will continue to be exploited by those who exploit our weakness.  You are not powerless:  You own 56 million acres of land that belongs to you.  (Well, all of it should belong to you!)    But remember “The Trail of Tears,” and moving the Native people into the land that they thought was the worst land?  Now they find that among the Native people are the last major mineral resources of this nation. 

But who is taking advantage of that?  You have gambling casinos to take your attention away from the value of what’s sitting up under your foot …


So now we have the “you,” we have a social relationship now (to strengthen).  I love you like I love myself.  I will not do anything to you that I don’t want to have done unto myself.  That’s the best religion!  My Teacher taught me:  “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.”  That cements social relationships.  But what gives us superiority over the animal kingdom, over the beasts of the field?  It is that we are born into the world knowing nothing, but we are curious to know everything about this universe that we came to birth in. 

You are in the greatest Book that there ever was, and your ancestors learned how to read It.  They give you books with words:  Ninety percent of it is probably false, and 10 percent has value.  But what is above your head?  What is beneath your feet?  What is around you, and what is in you is nothing but the truth.  So when you burn that [UNITY] fire (during the conference):  That fire was supposed to tell you that those who come to that fire have to be honest, have to be sincere, have to be clean and clear.  You are truth.  You are made from Truth.  You are a mathematical creation; that’s what causes you to see, to hear.  I saw the young sisters playing basketball.  That’s mathematics.  When you bounce the ball, you don’t even look, you give a back pass—because you saw that person from another perspective, and your opposing team didn’t know you were looking at your teammate. 

You can see beyond eyes and you can hear beyond ears when you are wide awake spiritually.  That’s what your ancestors had, and that is what you and I must attain again.  Your ancestors read the stars, your ancestors read the Earth, and saw signs in the things that God created.  That’s why the ancient ones:  They could sit in the tent, and you could come in and sit with your elders, and they all had stories to tell you; grandpa, and grandma.  But today, who are you listening to?  What is feeding your mind?  Every day you turn on the television:  What are you looking at?  What are you listening to?  Because if you keep putting into your ear the filth of this world, then as a man thinketh so is he.  So if I could make you think less of who you are, you’ll act like that.  That’s why you drink; because you don’t know who you are.  That’s why you smoke reefer, get high and act a fool, because you don’t know who you are.  That’s why you walk around on the reservation—

I hate to use the word “reservation,” because the Navajo told me they don’t like that term (“Say ‘Navajo Land’.”); but that is why you walk around like you are less than who you are!  You have to master the law, because that is how they tricked us.  You know all the broken treaties!  When a man gives you his word, or he doesn’t have a word, why should you trust him?  If you cannot trust my word, and I have no word, then your ancestors said, “They spoke with forked tongue.”  Isn’t that what the ancestors said? 

Well, they are speaking with the same kind of tongue today!  They haven’t changed.  All of the mineral strength under your land, they say is $1.5 trillion.  Where is the money that would allow you to build your own institutions, your own hospitals?  It’s under your foot. 

Examine quality of life on ‘reservations’:You must master the English language used to trick, exploit

So what kind of education are they giving you on the so-called reservation?  Do you think that a man who will not treat you right will teach you right?  That’s why you are not as productive as we could be!  Under your charge is 3.1 million acres of arable land …  Arable land that could grow food!  Look at yourself:  You want to be physically strong, but you can’t be physically strong if you’re not eating the best of food.  And now on the reservation if you are not growing your own food, somebody is growing food for you; and if they don’t like you, they grow food that is killing you.  And that is why you are coming up with all these diseases that your great-grandparents knew nothing about.  So what should you be learning in school, young people?  What should you be learning?  First, you need to start with a correct understanding of history

During this conference I met with my Hawaiian family, and they showed me a newspaper almost 200 years old, and they gave me the translation of it …  See how you lose?  On your land, nearly 20 percent of your land is owned by those who are non-Indians.  Owned by others!  Worked by others!  And the value of your land is taken from you—and you allow it.  You say, “Well, yeah, but we have lease agreements.”  Yes, yes; that’s why you have a lawyer here today (who spoke), because those lease agreements are not necessarily the best agreements. 

So you young people:  You have to master the English language.  It’s not your language, it’s not mine, but it’s the language spoken in the United States of America, and now all over the world.  But to “master” it:  You should make yourself a master, because that’s who you are.  Remember:  If you can’t say “can’t” in any language, you are The Original People of the Earth, Direct Descendants of The Creator Himself.  You can’t even find the origin of yourself on our planet.  The Earth, and the stones of the Earth, don’t show how old you are—you came from The Originator of The Sun, Moon and Stars. 

And as long as there has been an Earth, your ancestors have been here.  So take pride in who you are!  And when you walk the Earth, walk with a little heaviness in your foot, because everywhere you step is yours.  The scripture teaches in Psalms 24“The Earth is The Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  And you are The Lords that once owned it all, and now you are fighting for the little part that you have left.  As my Hawaiian sister spoke (during the opening session), I looked at her; and I know that that land, as beautiful as it is, it belongs to the original inhabitants.  But one by one, two by two, here Whites come; and after a while you are pushed out, and they have settled in.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t welcome strangers to your land; but when strangers come, and then own your land, and drive you from your land, and take the wealth of your land, that’s not a “stranger,” that’s an enemy posing as a friend.

Your ancestors were warriors!  You can’t be little sheep that have no grit in you!  Your ancestors knew that we could not defeat the newcomer unless we were united, and one nation; tribes coming together.  And as long as the enemy keeps us divided against each other, they will continue to impose their way of life on us.

You need to become farmers.  Since you love Mother Earth and Father Sky, and Mother Earth loves you, then that arable land and grow your food, and grow it properly; not with the poisons that they are putting in the earth, in the water, in the air!  When you violate the law of use by the law of abuse, then you forfeit your right to what you think you own. The land is poisoned, the air is poisoned, the water is poisoned—and you young people are the inheritors of poisoned air, water and land, so you have to work, now, to purify it.  You can’t purify it just by a prayer!  You must get the requisite knowledge:  You should go to school to study all areas of engineering, so that whatever is under your foot you can mine it out and bring it into your service, and into the service of others; and after a while, you’ll be into trade and commerce with your people all over the Earth.  They are waiting for us to rise and take our rightful and proper place.


I thank God for Mr. J.R. Cook (a Cherokee from Oklahoma whose efforts working with Native youth in leadership development for more than three decades is what began UNITY).  He had a great vision:  The unity of all of the tribes, coming together …

“10.10.15”:  Twenty years ago, The Million Man March brought men to Washington to atone to God for our failure as men to properly shepherd our families.  And when one considers Native tradition elevates the woman, but Western tradition tears the woman down:  When I looked at all of these beautiful young women (gathered here for the UNITY Conference), I thought to myself, “Everywhere that the male has been conquered, the female has become the prize of war.”  They call it “booty.”  So, we don’t want our women to be the “booty” of other men, of other nations!  No man is a man if he cannot protect his woman, and provide for the children that she bears for us.


In closing, I can’t tell you how much I love you!  And it makes me feel so good, as an elder who doesn’t have as much time in front as I have behind, knowing that I had a chance today to talk to those who will be here when I’m gone.  And I want to know that I’m leaving strength, that I’m leaving young people committed to the acquisition of knowledge:  The requisite knowledge that will allow you to master your lands!  And then come together, and come to Washington! 

I know you met with our president …  Well, he’s the titular head of the house.  The real head are the money people who buy politicians—that’s real.  And that is why most politicians can never do what you need done, because they have to pay for the people who buy them into office.  I hope that kind of politics is not in Indian Land; I hope we’ve learned that the people that should be in front of us are the people who are upright in character, and love us enough, like Jesus said:  “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)