Monday, September 21
Shadow

Our Ancestor"s Prayers

Early_Spring_SunsetA few years ago I asked the grandmothers to come to me in a dream and explain why my family went into hiding. Because they were focused on passing, I did not have the opportunity to speak to them while they were alive. They eventually came into my sleep and simply said, "You are here, aren't you?"

I find it impossible to argue with their logic. When they were having kids the world was an even more dangerous place for Native people. If one were light skinned, it paid to live far from the reservation and to pretend to be European. Perhaps the notion of passing and safety was driven home by the numerous Federal programs that encouraged Native people to assimilate. In any event, some of my family assimilated, others, like my father, not so much.

The other thing the Grandmothers said during their visit was that we who are alive now are the prayers of the Ancestors. I like to think about this, that we were each longed for by persons who lived generations ago. How soothing to imagine that someone, perhaps someone living very long ago, held our future appearance on this Earth in their heart, making prayers to the Creator for our eventual safe arrival and fulfilling life.

Now, as I age, I find myself making prayers for future generations. I wish dearly for my grandchildren's grandchildren to arrive in the world welcomed by loving family, and held in comfort and safety. I pray they may inherit a world rich in ecological and cultural diversity, may practice their religion in peace, and may always have enough food, medicine, and fresh water.

I fervently pray they may enter a world filled with adventure, play, and community, a world of ecological wholeness. I imagine this is very much like the dreaming of those Ancestors who imagined my life, so very long ago. I like to think I follow in their footsteps by doing what I can to bring about such a world, and that this is also a prayer.

I hope my life has lived up to my Ancestors aspirations for me, has answered, in some deep and abiding way, their prayers. If not, may it yet be so.

Michael Watson

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