We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Indigenous Peoples Day, Oct. 9, 2023

In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Oct 9, 2023), today’s liturgy (Oct 8, 2023) contains Native American resources.  

Here are 4 parts of the service with themes and two videos (Communion Hymn, Prayers of the People, Blessing and Song of Praise):

1 Many and Great, a Dakota hymn, is the only Native American hymn in the Hymnal 1982. It was our communion hymn. 

This hymn was originally written in 1842 in the Dakota Native American language by Joseph R. Renville. Its Dakota title is “Wakantanka taku nitawa”.   The original text is based on Jeremiah 10:12-13. 

1 Many and great, O God, are your works, maker of earth and sky.
Your hands have set the heavens with stars;
your fingers spread the mountains and plains.
Lo, at your word the waters were formed; deep seas obey your voice

2 Grant unto us communion with you, O star-abiding One.
Come unto us and dwell with us;
with you are found the gifts of life.
Bless us with life that has no end, eternal life with you. 

2 Although the Song of Praise “Through north and south” is not Native American, it refers to the four directions, North, South, East and West.  When the Lakota people pray or do anything sacred, they see the world as having four directions, each with a specific meaning.

3  The Prayers of the People contain Native American prayers from the Cheyenne, Lakota,  and Ute people. 

Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and all people.  Open our hearts and fill us with compassion.

[Lakota Sioux] – “Earth, teach us stillness”

Creator God, we pray that we may learn from the earth. 
Earth, teach us stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth, teach us suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth, teach us humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth, teach us caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth, teach us courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth, teach us limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth, teach us freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth, teach us resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth, teach us regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth, teach us to forget ourselves
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth, teach us to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

[Adapted from the Benedictine website that includes Native American Prayers] “Bless All Native Americans”

[Almighty God, we pray that we, as citizens of this nation, may work for the common good.  Bless all Native Americans who teach us to stand together like trees with roots intertwined, strengthening each other.]

[Cheyenne prayer] “Let us know peach”

Let us know peace.
For as long as the moon shall rise,
For as long as the rivers shall flow,
For as long as the sun shall shine,
For as long as the grass shall grow,
Let us know peace.

[Lakota healing prayer] – “Our Father, the Sky”

Our Father, the Sky, hear us and make us strong.
Our Mother, the Earth, hear us and give support.
Spirit of the East, send us your Wisdom.
Spirit of the South, may we tread your path of life.
Spirit of the West, may we always be ready for the long journey. 

Spirit of the North, purify us with your cleansing winds.

[Lakota Sioux] – “O Great Spirit”

Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice we hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
Hear us! We need your strength and wisdom.
Let us walk in beauty, and make our eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make our hands respect the things you have made
and our ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make us wise so that we may understand
the things you have taught us.  
Let us learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.

Help us remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards us.
Help us find compassion without
empathy overwhelming us.
We seek strength, not to be greater than our brothers,
but to fight our greatest enemy: ourselves.
Make us always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
we may come to you without shame.

Holy One, hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards of the fragile bounty of this earth, so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven.  Amen.

4 The blessing is from the Apache people. 
May the sun bring you new energy by day. 
May the moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.
And may the blessing of the Great Spirit be with you and remain with you always.