Grandfather Stories

Native American Lore

"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."
Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

Grandfather Cries
by Charles Phillip Whitedog

Grandfather, do you know me?
I am your blood.
The son of your son.
I come to ask you a question Grandfather.

Grandfather, don't you know me?

Can I stop being Indian now?
There are others that want to be Indian,
And if they can start from nothing,
I should be able to stop from something?

Grandfather, don't you know me?

Grandfather, I don't look like you.
I don't know what you know.
It would be easy for me to hide behind my paler skin.
No one would know the pain I feel,
Or see the tears I cry for your Great Grandchildren.

Grandfather, don't you know me?

Grandfather, look what I have done to our world.
Mother Earth is on her knees.
The Snake and Owl rule the day.
I don't understand the language you speak Grandfather.

Grandfather, don't you know me?

Grandfather, I want my Pepsi, Levi's and Porsche too.
I want to go where the others go,
And see the things they see too.
I don't have time to dance in the old way Grandfather.


Grandfather, why are you crying?
Grandfather, why are you crying?
Grandfather, please stop crying.
Grandfather, don't you know me?

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.

Dancing Spirits
by Crying Wolf

Grandfather, many have tried to destroy what you have created. The Dancing Spirits have reached deep within my heart. They shall protect the Sacred Circle you have created in my heart. Your gift of such a Sacred Dance is as a precious breath of Mother Earth. The rage of her nostrils shall not harm the ground the Dancing Spirits have danced on.
My Grandson, know that the beauty of this Sacred Circle, you are just a part of. Your brothers build along side of you, take this hand and increase your strength. Seek his wisdom for a river runs swift when streams become as one. You shall honor his deeds for his hand reaches for yours as the Mighty Redwoods reach for the Sacred Skies.
Old One, I shall be as the Standing Bear, his strength has carried him through harshness. Your teaching of the Great Warriors that have turned into dead trees is wise. In how many seasons will they turn into stone? Those before me shall keep the Dancing Spirits buried in my heart.
Young Warriors, what you have built let it stand Mighty as the Paha Sapa. We can not change the past but Father Sun shall guide our tomorrows. It is I that has granted you the Dancing Spirits. You have learned well my sons that Warriors turn into trees and then stone. Listen to the words the Great Winds Have carried to your ears. You cannot live on the empty promises of those that cause hunger to your women and children. My son, let no man break the Scared Circle of the Dancing Spirits.
Thank you Grandfather,

Sacred Flight
by Crying Wolf

Grandfather, the Mighty Eagle has much wisdom, for it follows the footsteps of the old one. Your new journey takes you beyond the Great Waters. You shall always walk at my side, for in you I have found my way. I have listened to the trees their song has touched my heart. This sacred place among the mountains and clouds shall be filled with your spirit?
Grandson be as the fresh winter snow for it provides new waters. For it is I, Eagle Guides His Arrows, that shall provide for you. Keep your visions keen as the sight of the Eagle, your strength as his great wings. Our paths are of the same, the sky has many shades. When the sacred rains come they are for your pleasures.
Grandfather your bow has much strength, your arrows have soared to great lengths. Your great shield has protected your heart, from many enemies. In all my strengths I shall find the wisdom to carry my own shield. The White Eagle has left me with a saddened heart. In the Scared Sky I shall see your face, Father Sun shall carry your warmth.
Young brave go and hunt well for many go hungry. It is you that shall become as I. The Mighty Eagle always grasps for the arrow of wisdom. Feed not your people the meat that fills their stomachs. I have gifted you with the many ways a spirit can be filled. My lance has found the hides that have kept your people warm. We have found much wisdom in the many seasons throughout our journey?
Grandfather my heart has cried and my tears are silent as this Sacred Flight. I shall see the Eagle catch his meat and my arrows shall fly in the same winds. Have a safe journey grandfather, for the footsteps you leave I shall follow.
Thank you Grandfather,

Crying Wolf is an Indian poet and artist living in Southern California. These two pieces speak to the eternal struggles we face and the strengths we find in our ancestors.

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