Ojibwa Grandmother chant
A Poem by Coyote Poetry
I lost my Ojibwa Grandmother in 1981. I tried to be like her. Children must know freedom and not be afraid of life.
My dear Ojibwa Grandmother with sad eyes would chant songs of ancient times.
I still can hear them in sweet dreams where I was safe and free.
I remember baby sisters dancing the circle dance for her.
She would smile and laugh when us kids were running free and enjoying our time of youth.
She knew so many and she never told us what they meant to her.
I could hear the joy in her voice. The ancient songs brought joy and peace
to her heart filled with disappointment.
Grandma never liked the ways of the white man. She wanted her children to be free
of the restrains of useless laws and fences. To be fearless and not caged like once free birds.
I wished I learn some of her knowledge. I was too busy learning the white man way of making
money and wanting meaningless things.
I learn 2000 miles away and 20 years later what my Grandmother tried to teach me.
Old Apache told me of the simple things. Love the land, allow the children to run free and
learn what they want and need. Don’t abuse the land. She feed us and she give us fresh air,
the forest and the water to drink.
Grandmother hated war. She told me. “Break my heart. I took your father to the station for war in 1951.
Now I take you to learn to kill and fight for a Government who hate our ways.’ She told me on a sunny day
at Belle Isle in Detroit. “When I was four years old. The government workers took me from my home. They cut my hair and they gave me a new name. They tried to make me forget my language. I don’t hate the White man. I don’t hold a grudge. Hate will kill us. I cannot forgive them and you must remember what is in your blood. Once powerful ancient people who lived in peace with the land and animals. We were free once. Not locked in Government prisons.”
Today I’m the elder. Like my Grandmother. I take my children and grandchildren to the forest. I allow them
to know freedom. I tell them about the trees, the whispering wind and allow them to swim in the great lakes.
I teach them fairness, honor and kindness.
Now I know who I’m. I accepted my ancient Ojibwa belief with honor and appreciated. I teach my children.
Don’t allow the world to fool you. Life is to be lived and celebrated. You must work to survive but ensure you can dance with the wind. Run with the wolves and never not fear tomorrow.
I take my grandsons to the forest. I burn the sage now. I remember my Grandmother’s chants.
I spread the sage and whisper a silence prayer to nature.
Give me the kind sun to warm my body.
Give me the clean water to keep my body flowing and strong.
Give me the food to strengthen my body and soul.
I thank you kind sun, the lakes and river and the ancient trees.
I know I live because of your kindness.
I pray for peace today for my world.
Berserkers are running our world.
I pray every child had shelter, food and water.
I pray our leaders learn.
Every life is special and needed.
This is one planet and one people.
We must get along for the sake of all children.
The sage burned out. I watch my grandsons run free and wild.
I look to the sky and give thanks to my dear Ojibwa Grandmother for showing me.
Children are our wealth. Without our children.
What would we be?