I’ve been deep into reading books by Native American authors and recently discovered the Thanksgiving Address, also translated as Greetings and Thanks to the Natural World. It brought tears to my eyes when I read it, so I hope you’ll find it moving, too.
The excerpt below is found in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass.
The Thanksgiving Address belongs to the six tribes of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, Confederacy – Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, and others. It’s spoken before tribal meetings of all types and sizes. Rather than a prayer or pledge, the address is a way to call forth gratitude and is considered helpful in a political sense. It’s much easier to resolve disagreements once opposing groups have spent time agreeing they are thankful for food, air, and water.
Kimmerer shares the address in the context of Onondaga Nation schools. Instead of starting the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, they gather to say the Thanksgiving Address. Individual children read each stanza and the entire group recites, “Now our minds are one.”
I’ve only included a portion, because the address is quite long. It goes on to greet plants, herbs, trees, fish, birds, water, sun, moon, stars, and any other beings the speakers choose.
**The wording of the address varies with the speaker. This version is a translation by John Stokes and can be found in full here.