Filled with wisdom about love and life, these Native American prayers, poems, blessings and proverbs portray the perfect messages that brides and grooms need to hear when they are getting married. In traditional Ojibway marriage ceremonies, the bride and groom each hold an eagle feather in their left hands while saying their vows.
When searching for readings for Native American nuptials, you have likely come across the "Apache Wedding Blessing." Despite its prolific presence online, the popular prayer does not have any cultural connection to a specific tribe. Instead, the poem is a product of Hollywood that captured the hearts of audiences watching the 1950 Western "Broken Arrow":
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
You can find more inspiration in this collection of readings for a Native American wedding vase ceremony. Leslie Gourse has also compiled a beautiful array of indigenous love poems and marriage folklore in her book, "Native American Courtship and Marriage Traditions."
I add my breath to your breath
that our days may be long on the Earth,
that the days of our people may be long,
that we shall be as one person,
that we may finish our road together."
- Pueblo Blessing
Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun."
- Lakota Prayer
Listen to the wind, it talks.
Listen to the silence, it speaks.
Listen to your heart, it knows.
- Native American Proverb
Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life, even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand, even when I have gone away from you.
- Pueblo blessing
When you know who you are, when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will, no cold can touch your heart, no deluge can dampen your purpose. You that you are alive.
- Chief Seattle (Duwamish)
You are part of me now.
You touched me with your kindness,
your lips are kind.
Your eyes glow with life.
I'm glad you touched me.
You're part of me now.
- "You Are Part of Me," Lloyd Carl Owle (Cherokee)
One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"'
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
- "Tale of Two Wolves" (Cherokee)