Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

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This prayer is a gift from the Haudenosaunee People (The Iroquois Nation), words of Thanksgiving with ancient roots dating back to when the Great Law of Peace was brought to the people by the Peace Maker, Dekanawidah (“Two River-Currents Flowing Together”), the Iroquois prophet, statesman, and lawgiver, who counseled an end to warring between the tribes.

Thanksgiving in Montana, Crow Reservation

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address

Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen “Words Before All Else”

This prayer is a gift from the Haudenosaunee People (The Iroquois Nation), words of thanksgiving with ancient roots dating back to when the Great Law of Peace was brought to the people by the Peace Maker, Dekanawidah (“Two River-Currents Flowing Together”), the Iroquois prophet, statesman, and lawgiver. Today variations of these words are still spoken at all times of the year at the opening and closing of ceremonial and governmental meetings held by the Haudenosaunee.

Greetings to the Natural World
Occupy LA, Jack Eidt

The People

Today we have gathered and see the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds, hearts and bodies together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

Ron Aldridge, Washington CoastThe Earth Mother

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

Rose Valley Falls, Los Padres National Forest, Jack EidtThe Waters

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms—waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, koi pondThe Fish

We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica AldridgeThe Plants

Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica AldridgeThe Food Plants

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

momoy, datura, jimsonweed, Jack EidtThe Medicine Herbs

Now we turn to all the Medicine Herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness and elevate human consciousness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

Now our minds are one.

grizzly bearThe Animals

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, majestic oakThe Trees

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty, and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, pelicanThe Birds

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds—from the smallest to the largest— we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, cloudsThe Four Winds

We give thanks to the powers known as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, thunderbeingsThe Thunderers

Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightening and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

Jessica Aldridge, sunThe Sun

We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

Jack Eidt, moon, MontanaGrandmother Moon

We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, binds all of the female cycles, and governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.

big dipperThe Stars

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

Jack Eidt, Cairns, AustraliaThe Enlightened Teachers

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.

Now our minds are one.

Jack Eidt, Glacier National ParkThe Creator

Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.

Closing Words

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

And now our minds are one.

You may purchase a booklet of the Thanksgiving Address in any of nine languages (English, German, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Bisayan, French and Hawaiian).  Here’s how:

  1. From the Mohawk Craft Shop at Kanatsiohareke, (518) 673-2534, http://www.mohawkcommunity.com/home/mohawkcraftshop.html, where they are sold for $6 each
  2. From the Tracking Project, http://www.thetrackingproject.org/products.htm
  3. From Amazon for more than $6 – http://www.amazon.com/Thanksgiving-Address-Greetings-Natural-World/dp/0964321408/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321901991&sr=1-1.

Thanks to Eric Noyes – American Indian Institute

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WilderUtopia.com regularly posts articles, photo essays, features, and documentaries from around the web that illuminate the challenges to coexistence between city and wild, developed and developing, human and other. To reach out, write to jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow us on Twitter @WilderUtopia