Native Americans have always been known to be deeply connected to the land and their ancestors. They believe in honoring their dead through rituals and prayers. In this blog, we will discuss some Native American prayers for the deceased. These prayers are meant to help the soul of the deceased person find peace and rest in their journey into the afterlife. This article talks more on sample prayers for the dead.
The Native Americans believed that souls could return to earth as ghosts or shadow people if they were not properly mourned or buried by their loved ones. At times, they would even return as animals in order to find food or shelter from those who knew them in life. In order to prevent this from happening, Native Americans would perform certain rituals when someone passed away so that their souls could move on peacefully into the afterlife.
These rituals often involved cleansing the body of any evil spirits using sage smoke or water before wrapping it up tightly in blankets made from animal skins so that no one could see what was underneath them except for their relatives who opened up these bundles when needed during ceremonies like funerals or wakes held at home after burial ceremonies had taken place outside with friends and family members present as well
Native Americans believe that the spirit lives on after death. In many cases, they believe that the spirit enters into another body, such as a bird or animal. They also believe that when a person dies, his or her soul travels through the Milky Way to reach its destination. Read more on prayers for mourning a death in this treatise.
Death Native American Prayer For The Deceased
After all, death in different cultures is often experienced and dealt with in unique ways. No matter what a family’s culture and traditions are, though, planning or attending a funeral is hard.
Poetry can share themes and messages related to your late loved one’s Native American heritage. Native American funeral poems are appropriate for a parent or grandparent’s funeral, a spouse or partner’s funeral, or a child’s funeral.
Native American Poems for a Parent or Grandparent’s Funeral
Poems about death that occurs late in life often describe the richness the older person experienced as well as the lessons they learned.
This can be helpful for younger family members attending the funeral or memorial who may not have a full understanding of death yet. These poems can also provide motivation and support for loved ones to carry on despite their grief.
» MORE: Keep a loved one’s memory alive by creating a diamond from their ashes.
1. “A Cherokee Prayer” by Kelly Spiritwind Wood
This poem is a powerful response to the death and destruction of the Cherokee tribe. Though this suggests death occurred in a malicious manner, it is likely still appropriate to share among family members in the Cherokee tribe, especially the elderly. The message of this poem is to want to be strong even when others are leaving the world and the world itself is crumbling.
2. “Death Song” by David Lee Yellowmoon Rose
“Death Song” discusses the author’s relationship to the earth and its animals and how they’re both dying together. He also talks about how he’ll return to the earth at times that once provided him with “a robe of life.”
3. “Each Time” by Wayne Scott
This poem describes lives as stories and men as histories that write the past. It discusses the act of mourning as well as moving on, bringing us all closer to death ourselves.
4. “Life Givers” by Katherine Raborn
This poem is written to an audience of younger people or children. It details the sacrifices and tears shed by their ancestors and elders. This would be appropriate to share to honor a late grandmother or grandfather.
5. “Death” by Crisosto Apache
“Death” is a somber poem in response to the dread that comes along with it. The author explains that you shouldn’t repeat the names of the dead, as it causes death itself to linger.
Native American Poems for a Spouse or Partner’s Funeral
Of course, sentiments of love are common at all funerals and memorials, but love holds particular weight at funerals for a spouse or a partner. Some of the Native American poems suggested below can be appropriate in other settings as well, while others have a strong theme of romance.
6. “Back in the Day” by David Kaw
This poem describes a courtship and the love between great-grandparents. It’s a nice choice for a wife to share about a late husband or vice versa. The tone of this poem is uplifting and full of gratitude for how things used to be.
7. “Cherokee Women” by Katherine Raborn
“Cherokee Women” details times when warriors do not return back home. It also talks about how Cherokee women are dedicated to both supporting warriors as well as praying for no more battles or tears.
8. “My Nakota Woman” by Ray
This poem describes a man’s love for his woman. It would be a great poem to share about a late wife.
9. “Star” by Jack Scoltock
“Star” discusses Manitou, the spiritual and fundamental life force of Algonquian tribes. The author hopes that Manitou will bring him home, as he is old and tired.
10. “Going Home” by Ray
For many, death is viewed as a way of returning home. The author describes returning to land and “the one” he loves, so it’s appropriate to share at a spouse’s funeral.
11. “You Are Part of Me” by Lloyd Carl Owle
“You Are Part of Me” is an intimate poem that describes being touched by love and kindness. It would be great to share at a spouse’s funeral among close friends. This poem also has a nice message, as it suggests that because we have experienced life and love with those we care about, they never truly leave us.
Native American Poems for a Child’s Funeral
Finding poems for a child’s funeral can be especially difficult, as losing a child is one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. However, the following poems lend a bit of joy that’s most likely needed. They also describe the dreams and the freedom from pain that a late child can experience through death.
12. “Dream Catcher” by Jack Scoltock
“Dream Catcher” describes a sweet relationship between a child and a father who made a dream catcher to keep evil spirits away. This is a nice sentiment to share as you lay a child to rest.
13. “Eagle Feathers” by Dinah Serritelli
Though not about death, this poem is a beautiful sentiment to share from a father to a son, as it’s written from the point of view of a father giving advice. He describes the difficult journey it took for him to transform from a little boy into a man that made his own father proud. Now, as a father himself, he gently encourages his own son and says that he believes in him.
14. “Pale and Small” by Melissa Fry Beasley
“Pale and Small” describes a granddaughter wanting to dance forever to the beat of her grandmother’s drum. It’s a beautiful poem with an uplifting sentiment. After all, it suggests that a child who has passed away is simply dancing into eternity with a grandparent who may have also died. You may also be interested in these other funeral poems for a daughter.
15. “Sister Moon” by Dara Heller
This poem describes the love we receive from children and how it’s what parents want the most. It does not have a theme of death, but it can be fitting to share for a child who left the earth too early. After all, the parents were given a chance to receive their child’s love for a time, still making it powerful.
16. “The Lord’s Prayer in Choctaw” by Mike Davis
As you may know, the Lord’s Prayer is a fundamental prayer in Christianity. It’s common to share at Christian services — either a regular service or for a memorial. Reciting this prayer in Choctaw can provide another level of cultural depth to a funeral, as long as you can find someone who can do so correctly. Sharing a more general prayer with everyone may be more fitting than one written specifically for a child. It may be too difficult to do so.
Poems Help You Honor Loved Ones
You may not be the most confident writer or know too much about Native American culture. However, Native American funeral poems are a great way to capture spirit and wisdom — especially in dealing with death. Native American writings are profound and filled with love, too, as well as an appreciation for the earth that we must someday leave behind.
Not only is Native American poetry powerful in its messaging, but it is also powerful in its quiet confidence. You may find further solace in reading more Native American poems as you grieve. The collection of poems we suggested is just the beginning, as you’re free to use them as inspiration to write your own or conduct more research on the writings of specific tribes, for example.
You can also honor your parent, grandparent, spouse, or child in another way that’s relevant to Native American culture. You may also be interested in Native American death rituals. For more resources related to funeral services and end-of-life planning, learn more at Cake.
Sample Prayers For The Dead
Please, Heavenly Father, grant these souls your abundant love as they enter your heavenly kingdom and hear this prayer for the departed. Assist those who have lost loved ones in realizing that everything is going according to plan. As they grieve, may they find comfort in knowing that you are there for them always, no matter how bad things get. Amen.
A Spiritual Invocation
Please, God Please, hear my prayer for the eternal rest of my family member’s soul. Kindly accept them as new members of your heavenly host. Let them bask in your grace and mercy, and release them from the burden of their sins, so that they may spend eternity in paradise with you. Amen.
A Prayer for Peaceful Sleep
Lord, we praise You for taking our sibling home. Because of the wonderful life that was led, we praise Your name. O God, we beg you to grant him or her eternal life. Let Your angels touch what he or she can never touch again while he or she resides in Your garden. May the Lord bless his/her soul with eternal rest and peace. Amen
Prayers For Mourning A Death
Comforting Words for the Bereaved: Father, That you are, as 1 Corinthians 1:3 puts it, “the source of all comfort,” our gratitude. I need to be engulfed by your love and compassion right now. The state of my health is not satisfactory. I’ve come to you right now because my heart is sad and I don’t know what else to do. Please don’t brush my feelings under the rug; instead, help me work through what I’m going through. Considering my incompetence, I am at a loss as to how to proceed. Please assist me in making any necessary contact with other people. Please help me believe that you are here with me in this difficult time. To think that this won’t last forever is a blessing, as is the knowledge that you will eventually put things right. In this difficult time, I need your help to keep my focus on you. I appreciate that you accept me as I am. Amen.
The Father, I thank you that you are not a God who is far away, but who is with us, and who is near to us, even in our time of greatest need. At this time, I hold in my heart everyone who is grieving. A broken heart can be mended, so reassure them that you are nearby and ready to help. Inspiring them to “hope in God” as it is written in Psalm 42:11 is a great way to help. You won’t let them down. You should do what you can to make them think that about you. Help them open up to supportive people and allow themselves to feel vulnerable so they can begin to make sense of their experience. Make us sensitive to the needs of those around us, and show us how we can best comfort those who are hurting. Lord, may we never forget that you, of all people, have experienced death and loss and therefore fully understand our suffering. Clearly, you can empathize with us and understand us. Because you understand the needs of the grieving so well, we entrust them to you. Amen.
A Prayer of Solace in Times of Strife
Some days just feel too difficult, God. It hurts us a lot. Struggling. Maintaining a constant battle against anxiety. In spite of everything, we appreciate that you haven’t abandoned us. Please pardon our skepticism. Sorry if we mistook you for having forgotten. Please pardon us for thinking we have the answers.
You can be relied on completely.
You have unlimited potential.
You can do it.
No matter how challenging the situation appears to be, you are Lord over it.
You are the Healer, and you will never let today’s sorrow go to waste.
You can find a positive purpose in anything.
You can accomplish anything.
You can handle anything thrown at you.
In our prayers today, please know that we are thinking of those who are suffering. Please wrap those who are sad in your compassion. We ask that the calm of your presence would settle over us, reminding us that no one can ever take us from your care. He will never be able to completely control us. In your presence, we are protected whether we are alive or dead.
We give thanks that your standards are loftier than ours and that your ideas are more expansive than our own.
Everything is at your feet; we surrender all of our worries and concerns to you.
With the firm conviction that that’s the most secure spot for it to be in.
Lord, we adore you, but we’re in desperate need of your renewed grace.
All this I ask in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.