Spiritual Health Resources for Solitary Confinement

By Joshua O’Connor AKA “Apache”

From PHN Issue 43, Summer 2020

Spiritual Health is just as important—if not more important—than your physical health. It’s what gives you the willpower to wake up and thank the Creator for all you have. It’s also what gives you the willpower to work out and better yourself.

I know it’s hard to do when you’re in solitary confinement. In solitary, there is no access to the sweat lodge and Pow Wow, for all my Native brothers and sisters. I hope that changes soon, because Native Americans should have access to their spiritual practices like everyone else in the general population.

Here are some things I recommend you do while you’re in solitary confinement if you want to continue your spiritual practices:

I highly recommend this book: 365 Days of Walking the Red Road: The Native American Path to Leading a Spiritual Life Every Day (2003) by Terri Jean. You will come to develop a better understanding of your personal journey. This book has helped me keep my head up during these dark and depressing times in solitary confinement.

Another book I recommend is Black Elk Speaks (2014) by John G. Neihardt. It is a great book about the Native Nicholas Black Elk.

In closing, I want to share the prayer I say to the Creator every night. This gives me hope. I hope it helps you, too:

“Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds. Life to all the world, hear me! I come before you as one of your many children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made. Make my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my people; the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so that when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”

With many blessings,

Joshua aka “Apache”

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