I wrote the following prayer shortly after I became Chief in 1983. It is mounted in my office as a daily reminder to me to always be aware of my responsibilities and obligations.
This Chief’s Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit, I am in need of your eyes, your voice, your heart, and your wisdom.
My people have chosen me to lead them. Show me the way, great one, so that I may lead properly and wisely.
My heart says to me to be friends to all, yet my head says to me that my greatest need is their respect and loyalty.
I know that sometimes they may like the ground I walk or the air that I breathe. I know that some will feel that I am unfair or unreasonable. I know that at time they will grow tired and I must push them on. I know sometimes that their weaknesses must be punished or penalized. If so, my heart will tell me to help carry the load that is imposed. My head will tell me that each must carry his own.
Oh Great Spirit, teach me to push without breaking their spirit. Teach me persuasion with fairness. Show me how to earn respect, not fear. Teach me to treat all men equal, just as you do.
I ask more, Great Spirit: watch over my people; protect them; keep them unharmed in spirit as well as in body. Help me to regard each life as highly as my own.
And I say to you lastly – I ask not that my pathway be made smooth. I pray that at the end of the path, when we meet, that I can walk to you proud and tall – with pride and dignity.
Oh, Great Spirit, if I measure up grant me these things.
Leaford Bearskin, Chief
Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma