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Indigenous Peoples' Literature
CONTENTS

The Sacred Seven Prayers

O Great Spirit, who art before all else and who dwells in every object, in every person and in every place, we cry unto Thee. We summon Thee from the far places into our present awareness.

O Great Spirit of the North, who gives wings to the waters of the air and rolls the thick snowstorm before Thee, Who covers the Earth with a sparkling crystal carpet above whose deep tranquillity every sound is beautiful. Temper us with strength to withstand the biting blizzards, yet make us thankful for the beauty which follows and lies deep over the warm Earth in its wake.

O Great Spirit of the East, the land of the rising Sun, Who holds in Your right hand the years of our lives and in Your left the opportunities of each day. Brace us that we may not neglect our gifts nor lose in laziness the hopes of each day and the hopes of each year.

O Great Spirit of the South, whose warm breath of compassion melts the ice that gathers round our hearts, whose fragrance speaks of distant springs and summer days, dissolve our fears, melt our hatreds, kindle our love into flames of true and living realities. Teach us that he who is truly strong is also kind, he who is wise tempers justice with mercy, he who is truly brave matches courage with compassion.

O Great Spirit of the West, the land of the setting Sun, with Your soaring mountains and free, wide rolling prairies, bless us with knowledge of the peace which follows purity of striving and the freedom which follows like a flowing robe in the winds of a well-disciplined life. Teach us that the end is better than the beginning and that the setting sun glorifies not in vain.

O Great Spirit of the heavens, in the day's infinite blue and amid the countless stars of the night season, remind us that you are vast, that you are beautiful and majestic beyond all of our knowing or telling, but also that you are no further from us than the tilting upwards of our heads and the raising of our eyes.

O Great Spirit of Mother Earth beneath our feet, Master of metals, Germinator of seeds and the Storer of the Earth's unreckoned resources, help us to give thanks unceasingly for Your present bounty.

O Great Spirit of our souls, burning in our heart's yearning and in our innermost aspirations, speak to us now and always so that we may be aware of the greatness and goodness of Your gift of life and be worthy of this priceless privilege of living.

1996 Noel Knockwood, B.A.
Elder



Earth Prayers for The Great Spirit

Great Spirit Prayer
Ancient Prayer
Wae Wae Non Ne Mot, Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin
Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux
Big Thunder (Bedagi), late 19th century Algonquin
Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding
The Circle Of Life
An Indian Prayer

Great Spirit Prayer (origin unknown)

Attributed to Martin J. Shutt mshutt@lynx.bc.ca


"Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,

Whose breath gives life to all the world.

Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice

Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.

Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf & rock.

Help me seek pure thoughts & act with the intention of helping others.

Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - Myself.

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.


Permission to use granted by Martin J. Shutt


"May you always walk in Beauty."

Ancient Prayer


Wae Wae Non Ne Mot, Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin

"The Creator above is the Great Spirit and the Great Mystery, His gifts are plentiful therefore you want not. He holds out a branch of love and protection and He draws you to where the ground is undisturbed, where the air is pure and the water is clear and clean enough to give life. You walk, you breathe, you feed, for you are pleasured. The times when your heart is weak, your circle is out of balance, He lifts you up again and draws you to the good Menominee road, for He is strength and wisdom."

(part of The Menominee Version of the 23rd Psalm)


Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

"Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you -- the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.

"You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things."


Big Thunder (Bedagi), late 19th century Algonquin

"The Great Spirit is in all things, is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground, She returns to us...."


Give us hearts to understand;

Never to take from creation's beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;

Never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth's beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.

Give us hearts to understand

That to destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;

That to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her she will care for us.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have sought only our own security.

We have exploited simply for our own ends.

We have distorted our knowledge.

We have abused our power.

Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,

Help us to find the way to refresh your lands.

Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.

Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.

Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed,
help us to find a way to replenish them.

Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and corruption,
help us to find the way to restore our humanity.

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world, hear me;
I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in Beauty.


Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding

by Larry Kibby kibby@scs.unr.edu

Great Spirit Grandfather,
I send these words to you,
Hear my prayer.
For these are my words,
To Father Sun,
To Grandmother Moon,
To Mother Earth
To all my relations,
That have been Created as I.
To the Four Winds,
That bring us the
Seasons of Life.

To the East
Where Father Sun rises
Bringing to us a new day
A new meaning of life,
A light in which to see
The path before us.

To the South
Where the warm air comes to us
Bringing heat and warmth,
The seasons of spring
And summer.
To the West
Where Father Sun goes
To bring to us darkness,
So as we may see the universe
And search for the questions
Of our life.

To the North
Where the cold winds come from
Bringing to us the seasons
Of fall and winter.

Oh Great Spirit
Hear my words
For to you I offer
My heart and soul
You made me
What I am
And I am Indian
America's Prisoners of War
I pray for my people of the past
Whose blood covers this our Mother Earth
I pray now as an Indian
Blood of my Ancestors.


Great Spirit Grandfather,
Look down upon
Your people,
For we are humble
Before you.
We seek your guidance,
So that we your people
May walk forever
In a proud manner
Before you.

Great Spirit Grandfather,
You gave your people
The breath of life,
So that we may live
With dignity and pride,
To always know
And understand
That life was meant for us
Your most humble
Traditional people,
And all that
Was Created
And given
The breath of life.

Great Spirit Grandfather,
Let my heart
Soul and mind
Be always strong with
Wisdom, knowledge
And Understanding.

Great Spirit Grandfather
Hear my words
For wisdom
So that I may open
My eyes and
See all that
Is good around me.

Great Spirit Grandfather
Hear my words
For wisdom
So that I may open my ears
And hear all that is good
Around me.
For I am humble
Before you.
I seek the strength
To continue on this path
That I travel on before you
In a most Sacred manner.

Great Spirit Grandfather
Hear my words
For they are words
That come from the
Heart, soul and mind,
And are filled with
Wisdom, knowledge and
Understanding.

Great Spirit Grandfather
My words are for you
To know and understand
That in a most Sacred manner
I honor and respect
The life you have put before me,
I seek the strength
To forever continue
Upon this Sacred path.

Great Spirit Grandfather
Upon the four winds
Are my words for strength
For they come from the
Heart, soul and mind
Words I send to you
In a Sacred manner.

Great Spirit Grandfather
Let all
The wisdom, knowledge and understanding
Be my strength
To continue on this path
That I travel on before you
As a Traditional Native American Indian,
Now and forever.


The Circle Of Life

by Larry Kibby kibby@scs.unr.edu

Oh Great Spirit
Of the Indian People
Hear my words
For they are words that come
From the heart, soul and mind.

Oh Great Spirit
Be my mind,
Be my eyes,
Be my ears,
Be my heart,
Be my soul,
So that I may walk
With dignity and pride.

Oh Great Spirit
Of the Indian People
Know of me.
For I am of your people.
I am Indian,
An Indian of the Circle of Life
A prisoner of War
In my own Land!

Oh Great Spirit,
Of the Indian people,
Hear my words
For they are for you.
They are of you.
You are my way of life
In the Circle of Life.


An Indian Prayer

by H. Kent Craig

My grandfather is the fire
My grandmother is the wind
The Earth is my mother
The Great Spirit is my father

The World stopped at my birth
and laid itself at my feet

And I shall swallow the Earth whole
when I die
and the Earth and I will be one

Hail The Great Spirit, my father
without him no one could exist
because there would be no will to live

Hail The Earth, my mother
without which no food could be grown
and so cause the will to live to starve

Hail the wind, my grandmother
for she brings loving, lifegiving rain
nourishing us as she nourishes our crops

Hail the fire, my grandfather
for the light, the warmth, the comfort he brings
without which we be animals, not men

Hail my parent and grandparents
without which
not I
nor you
nor anyone else
could have existed

Life gives life
which gives unto itself
a promise of new life

Hail the Great Spirit, The Earth, the wind, the fire
praise my parents loudly
for they are your parents, too

Oh, Great Spirit, giver of my life
please accept this humble offering of prayer
this offering of praise
this honest reverence of my love for you.


Earth Healing Ceremony

by: Medicine Grizzly Bear

O Great Creator,
I come before you in a humble manner
and offer you this sacred pipe.
With tears in my eyes and an ancient song from my heart
I pray.

To the four powers of Creation,
To the Grandfather Sun,
To the Grandmother Moon,
To the Mother Earth,
And to my ancestors.

I pray for my relations in Nature,
All those who walk, crawl, fly, and swim,
Seen and unseen,
To the good spirits that exist in every part of Creation.

I ask that you bless our elders and children and families and friends,
And the brothers and sisters in prison.
I pray for the ones who are sick on drugs and alcohol
And for those homeless and forlorn.
I also pray for peace among the four races of humankind.

May there be good health and healing for this Earth,
May there be Beauty above me,
May there be Beauty below me,
May there be Beauty in me,
May there be Beauty around me.
I ask that this world be filled with Peace, Love and Beauty.


Spokane, Washington, 1990




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