“Thoughts of Elders” by Saginaw Grant

Saginaw Grant


One early spring evening, I walked around an old dance ground. The air smelled of freshly fallen rains.

I could see why this place was chosen for an encampment; the beauty of twilight was breathtaking.

As I sat on a lawn surrounding the dance area, my imagination, or something, was happening around me. I began to hear voices speaking my native tongue. The soft sound of a drum beat was becoming clear.

I could hear horses and shouts of greetings, children running, playing. The smell of smoke and cooking was strong, and the beat of the drum began to get louder.

The camp crier began calling names to come to the dance area. One of the names called was of my great grandpa. I stood up looking around, wanting to see him.

Singing began with the beating of the drum.

The singing and beating of the drum grew louder. I could see dancers, proudly dancing. The drum and song filled me with strength and joy. I wanted to dance, to express my feelings to my creator.

This night I danced with my grandmothers and grandfathers. I felt the joy and feelings of many generations of my people.

I know the drum is truly the heart of my people. As long as the drum beats there will always be my people.

Suddenly, I was standing all alone in the darkness. The smell of smoke and cooking was strong.

I could still sense the movement of people about me. As I left the dance ground, I turned and raised my arm in farewell,

I thank you … I truly enjoyed myself.

from Rattle #14, Winter 2000
Tribute to Native American Poets


Saginaw Grant: “I am Hereditary Chief of the Sac and Fox Nation. In addition to appearing in numerous motion picture and television productions, I am an author and lecturer and have traveled extensively, sharing traditional Native American concepts.” (web)

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