We Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, with a Navajo Blessing

From my space in Harlem, I look out at a little “mountain” with a small forest of trees on it. It was once used by the Native Americans as a lookout station to see over the entire island of Manhattan. I try to imagine what the landscape looked like then.

A number of cities now observe Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, in honor of the people who inhabited America before Columbus.

Getty Images

Seems like a fine idea to be aware our dark history, and the roots that preceded it. Though I’m not sure why we need to have an either/or. Columbus Day was started by Italian Americans who thought we should honor their heritage…You can read about Columbus here. The guy was both amazing and treacherous.

Bartolomeo and Christopher Colombus – Bibliothèque Nationale de France

In honor of this day: a Navajo poem that seems to count blessings and give a blessing at the end.

House Song to the East

Far in the east, far below, there a house was made; 
Delightful house. 
God of Dawn, there his house was made; 
Delightful house. 
The Dawn, there his house was made; 
Delightful house. 
White Corn, there its house was made; 
Delightful house. 
Soft possessions, for them a house was made; 
Delightful house. 
Water in plenty, surrounding, for it a house was made; 
Delightful house. 
Corn pollen, for it a house was made; 
Delightful house. 
The ancients make their presence delightful; 
Delightful house.

Before me, may it be delightful; 
Behind me, may it be delightful; 
Around me, may it be delightful; 
Below me, may it be delightful; 
Above me, may it be delightful; 
All, may it be delightful.

 

 

 

Here is a rich selection of Native American poets.  And some awesome vintage photos from Getty Images here.

 

 

 

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