Culture , Columns

A praying people

In the still, predawn darkness of early morning the villagers of the Wah-Zha-Zhi would begin leaving their dwellings made of bark, each of them walking toward the east, then they would stop, and face the direction of the Sun. When the Sun broke over the horizon, the People began their prayers to Wah-Kon-Tah, the creator of all things.

We have been told that those Osages of the past were a Praying People.

We have been told that those prayers were emotional with a plea for Wah-Kon-Tah to assist in meeting the necessities for walking the Earth for another day.

We have been told that those Osages of the past recognized the part their prayers had in healing those who were not well, no matter what the nature of their illness or injury happened to be.

Still facing the Sun, we have been told that while praying the People would lift their arms toward the sky while singing their prayers that this day will be a good day for members of their families.

The People ask for assistance in receiving the basic needs of living, such as food and water that sustains their lives. 

They asked for protection from the forces of nature, such as wind, flooding, lightning, tornados and thunder that are a constant part of living.

They asked for strength and courage and skill in warfare to overcome uncaring enemies who threatened to harm the People. 

They expressed gratitude for the gift of Fire that has many purposes that mankind is dependent upon. Such as preparing food. Fire is used to warm the dwellings and to light those same dwellings during the darkness of night.

We have been told that Fire is sacred and Fire has a cleansing quality that is a part of healing.

In the beginning of the day those Osages of the past prayed for protection of the young ones, and the old people.

Those Old Ones would ask Wah-Kon-Tah to guide the leaders of the People in their decision making and in following through on their decisions and make those decisions a reality.  

Osages of today are descendants of those early day Osages. Also, Osages of today are fortunate to have the teachings of those Older Ones.

It is always a good feeling when attending Osage functions. At those functions seem to always begin with a prayer and many of them close with a prayer.