“There comes a time when we must stop crying and wringing our hands and get on with the healing that we are so much in need of.” ~ Art Solomon, Anishinaabe Elder.
A passage from Art Solomon’s book, Songs for the People: Teachings on the Natural Way (NC Press) describes Aboriginal society prior to the arrival of Europeans.
“We were not perfect, but we had no jails, we had no taxes…no wine and no beer, no old peoples’ homes, no children’s aid society, we had no crisis centres. We had a philosophy of life based on the Creator. We had our humanity.”
Grandfather, Great Spirit
I give you thanks
That we can sit here
In this circle of Life,
We send Prayers
And the very best thoughts
Grandmother Great Spirit
As we raise this sacred pipe
To give thanks to you
y And to all of your Creation,
We give thanks
To the spirit helpers
Who came and sat among us.
Grandfather, Most sacred one,
These are your prayers
That we send to you
As we sit here together and pray
Grandmother your children are crying.
Grandfather your children are dying.
The hands of greed
And the hands of lust for power
Have been laid on them
And all around is death and desolation
The gifts you made, for all your children
And laid to waste
In a monstrous desecration.
Grandmother Great Spirit,
As we sit and pray together
We send you this prayer of affirmation-
We your children whom you created in your likeness and image-
We will reach out,
And we will dry our tears
And heal the hurts of each other.
Our sisters and brothers are hurting bad,
And our children, they see no future.
We know Grandfather, that you gave us a sacred power,
But it seems like we don’t know its purpose
So now we’ve learned as we sat together,
The name of that power is love,
Invincible, irresistible, overwhelming power,
This power you gave us we are going to use,
We’ll dry the tears of those who cry
And heal the hurts of them that are hurting.
We’ll give you our hands
And in our hearts and minds and bodies
We dedicate our lives to affirmation.
We will not wait nor hesitate,
As we walk on this sacred earth
We will learn together to celebrate
The ways of peace, and harmony, and tranquillity,
That come,And in the world around us.
Thank you Grandfather for this prayer.
Art Solomon helped inspire movements as diverse as the World Council on Religion and Peace, the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples, and the American Indian Movement. He helped create the Native Studies Department at the University of Sudbury in Ontario, and the University Prisons Programme.
Planting seeds of heartfulness and harmony, fiercely protecting and nurturing the soil in which they grow — his words recall what it means to be whole.