Thursday, November 26, 2015

Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

Greetings to the Natural World

The People
Today we have gathered and we see that 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 together as one as we give greetings and
thanks to each other as people.

Now our minds are one.

The 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.

The 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.

The Fish
We turn our minds to the 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.

The Plants
Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the
Plants grow, working many 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.

The 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 of thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs
Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning they
were instructed to take away sickness. 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.

The 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 are honored by
them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our
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

The 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 people 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.

The 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.

The Four Winds
We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their
voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They
help us 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.

The Thunderers
Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With
lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life.
We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres
underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks
to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

The 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.

Grandmother Moon
We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon,
who lights the night‐time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and
she 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.

The 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 the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

The 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.

The 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.

Now our minds are one.




Called the Iroquois by the French the confederacy is properly called the Haudenosaunee Confederacy meaning People of the long house. The confederacy was founded by the prophet known as the Peacemaker with the help of Aionwatha, more commonly known as Hiawatha. The exact date of the joining of the nations is unknown and said to be time immemoriall making it one of the first and longest lasting participatory democracies in the world.

The confederacy, made up of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas was intended as a way to unite the nations and create a peaceful means of decision making. Through the confederacy, each of the nations of the Haudenosaunee are united by a common goal to live in harmony. Each nation maintains it own council with Chiefs chosen by the Clan Mother and deals with its own internal affairs but allows the Grand Council to deal with issues affecting the nations within the confederacy.