Tradition: Native Americans

He Yama Yo

Native Americans

The mantra is believed to come from the Lakota people living at the Great Plains at the foot of the Cordillera mountains. The name Lakota means ‘Allied Friends’. The tribe consisted of thirteen sub-cultures called Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires).


Be here and now.
We haven’t found a proven and reliable translation of the phrase. The most common phrase seems to be about being mindfully present, being here and now, living with the full awareness of one’s existence.


The only interpretation of the mantra we have found suggests the following message:
I am grateful for being here and now. I am grateful for every moment. I am born, I grow up, I teach and I return into the Earth to be reborn.

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The knowledge about mantras coming from the Native Northern American tradition is rather scarce. What has been left from the traditional music of many tribes, are mostly prayer-like songs, in which the practitioners turn to the spirits of Earth, sometimes their own ancestors, pleading for the successful hunting or strength necessary at the battlefield. However what we can find among them is a lesser known prayer called ‘He Yama Yo’ with its most mantric character. It is believed to come from the Lakota people living in the Great Plains, at the foot of the Cordillera mountains. The tribe consists of three groups: Easterrn called Santee, middle – Yankton and Western – Teton. The name of the tribe is spoken differently by the members of this group (for Santee it is „Dä ‘kō tä”, „Lä ‘kō tä” in the Teton dialect and „Nakota” for the Yankton people) while its meaning is the same: ‘Allied Friends’. Since their territories had been conquered by the French, the name Sioux came into use. It comes from the shortened form of the French term ‘nadoussioux’ (little snakes) having its origins in the derogatory name used by the Chippewa tribe, Lakota tribe’s rivals from the Great Lakes area. The tribe of Lakota was numerous and consisted of thirteen sub-cultures known as Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires). In the beliefs of Lakota the Universe has been created by Wakȟáŋ Tháŋka (The Great Spirit) in a way interconnecting all the beings. Wakȟáŋ Tháŋka is omnipresent, it may be found in the trees, in the Earth, in animals and humans too. As soon as we understand it, there are no more reasons to be afraid, instead we find the ultimate love. The tribal prayers were supposed to help the practitioners start relation with the spiritual world and give them divine power they can later share with the rest of the tribe. In this tradition we should seek the origins of the mysterious (as we don’t really know much about it) mantra ‘He Yama Yo’. There is a good reason to call it a ‘mantra’. Contrary to many songs and prayers present in this tradition it has repeatable narrative structure: He Yama Yo Wana Hene Yo Waahee Hey Hey Hey Yo. Sadly we weren’t able to find a proven and reliable translation of these words. The most common phrase seems to be ‘here and now’ while the only extended translation we have found is:
Gratitude for existing here and now,
Gratitude for every moment
I am born, I grow up,
I teach and I return to the Earth to be born.