Native American Poems,
Songs, & Prayers

The selections of Native American poems and songs you'll find below are moving and touch the soul.

In the words of Chief Luther Standing Bear (Teton Sioux), speaking of the Lakota people:

"In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand on the ground and explain: 'We sit in the lap of our Mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We shall soon pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever.' So we, too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of life about us in its multitude of forms.

Sometimes we boys would sit motionless and watch the swallows, the tiny ants, or perhaps some small animal at its work and ponder its industry and ingenuity....Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form...Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms...

Life was vivid and pulsing; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived - lived in every sense of the word - from his first to his last breath."

Source: Nerburn, Kent, and Louise Mengelkoch. Native American Wisdom. California: The Classic Wisdom Collection, 1991.



Take your time in reading these Native American Poems. There is emotion in them - there are things to be learned. Come back often to review and refresh your spirit, and enjoy these Native American poems.




Native American Poems, Songs, & Prayers


When a man eats salmon by the river,
he sings the salmon song.
It is in the river
in the roasting
in the spearing
in the sharing
in the shoring
in the shaking shining salmon.
It is in the song too.
~ Kwakiutl Poem



The whole Southwest was a House Made of Dawn. It was made of pollen and rain. The land was old and everlasting. There were many colors on the hills and on the plain, and there was a dark wilderness on the mountains beyond. The land was tilled and strong and it was beautiful all around.
~ Southwest Indian Song


We are the stars which sing,
We sing with our light;
We are the birds of fire,
We fly over the sky.
Our light is a voice;
We make a road for the spirits;
For the spirits to pass over.
Among us are three hunters
Who chase a bear.
There never was a time
When they were not hunting.
We look down on the mountains
This is the song of the stars.
~ An Algonquian Poem


I know not if the voice of man
can reach to the sky;
I know not if the mighty one
will hear as I pray;
I know not if the gifts I ask
will all granted be;
I know not if the word of old
we truly can hear;
I know not what will come to pass
in our future days;
I hope that only good will come,
my children, to you.
~ Woman's Song from The Hako, a ritual drama of the Pawnee.


Deer, I am sorry to hurt you,
but the people are hungry.
~ Choctaw, hunter's prayer


(Native American Poems)



The landscape is our church, a cathedral.
It is like a sacred building to us.
Zuni saying



This covers it all, the Earth and the Most
High Power whose ways are beautiful.
All is beautiful before me,
All is beautiful behind me,
All is beautiful above me,
All is beautiful around me.
~ Navajo song


Do not weep, do not weep for me,
Loved women, should I die;
For yourselves alone should you weep!
Poor are ye all, and to be pitied:
Ye women, ye are to be pitied!

I seek, I seek our fallen relations;
I go to revenge, revenge the slain,
Our relations fallen and slain,
And our foes, our foes shall lie
Like them, like them shall they lie;
I go to lay them low, to lay them low!
~ A Chippewa war-party addressing the women
on leaving the village, ca. 1838.


At the time of death,
When I found there was to be death,
I was very much surprised.
All was failing.
My home, I was sad to leave it.

I have been looking far,
Sending my spirit north, south, east, and west.
Trying to escape death,
But could find nothing,
No way of escape.
~ Luiseno Song



(Native American Poems)


Nothing lives long.
Only the earth and the mountains.
~ Death song sung by White Antelope (Cheyenne)
before he died at Sand Creek, 1864.


Now we will speak again about him, Our Creator.
He decided, "Above the world I have created ...
I will continue to look intently and to listen intently to the earth,
when people direct their voices at me."

Let there be gratitude day and night
for the happiness he has given us.
He loves us, he who in the sky dwells.
He gave us the means to set right
that which divides us.
~ From Iroguois Thanksgiving ritual



Some of our chiefs make the claim that the land belongs to us.
It is not what the Great Spirit told me.
He told me that the land belongs to Him,
that no people own the land,
and that I was not to forget
to tell this to the white people.
~ Kannekuk Kickapoo, prophet



The whole world is coming,
A nation is coming, a nation is coming,
The Eagle has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming.
The buffalo are coming, the buffalo are coming.
The Crow has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so.
~ Sioux Ghost Dance Song


(Native American Poems)


I am purified and free.
And I will not allow you to ignore me.
I have brought you a gift.
It is all I have but it is yours.
You may reach out and enfold it.
It is only the strength in the caress of a gentle breeze,
But it will carry you to meet the eagle in the sky.
My name is "I am living." I am here.
My name is "I am living." I am here.
~ Anna Lee Walters, Pawnee-Otoe
From I Have Bowed Before the Sun


Look at me, friend!
I come to ask for your dress
Since there is nothing you
cannot be used for.
I come to beg your for this,
Long-life maker.
~ Kwakiutl prayer to a cedar tree


My words are tied in one with the great mountains,
with the great rocks,
with the great trees,
in one with my body and my heart.
All of you see me,
one with this world.
~ Yokuts prayer



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