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Sunday, July 17, 2005


You should have seen that old man. After the ceremony they asked him to pray, since he was the oldest there and a spiritual man. They fixed a "spirit plate," with a little pinch of everything they were having, and gave it to him. It was a long time before he said anything at all. All those assembled for the feast settled down to a few murmurs, then absolute silence. He was looking at the food, and there were tears in his eyes.

He appealed to the Creator and the Universe as a poor, humble, common man. He thanked everybody. He prayed for everybody. He remembered everybody. He thanked Grandmother Earth, and the Sky, and the Four Directions, and all the animals and plants and living things. He thanked the rain, and the Sun, and the wind. He thanked each of those plants and animals we were about to eat. He remembered everything. Everything.

The prayer grew long. People started looking up and glancing around. He prayed for the departed. He prayed for those in hospitals and jails. He prayed for the handicapped. He prayed for the homeless. He prayed for the hungry. He prayed for the leaders of the world.

He thanked the spirits, and the people who prepared the food, and all those people who helped bring the food to our table..."Thank you for everything. Tunkasila...Wo-pila...Mitakuye Oyasin."


Everybody said "Aho" and started getting in the serving line. Elders first, then the kids. Someone would say later, "AAAAIIIEEE...Long one. I was hungry, man. I was waiting for him to WRAP IT UP!"

Next ceremony, they asked the same old man to pray.

From the book Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge: Family Ties, Warrior Culture, Commodity Foods, Rez Dogs and the Sacred by Vic Glover

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