Quote of the Week

"Giving daily thanks for nature’s gifts has always been an important way of living for traditional Native peoples. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora), who live in New York State and parts of southeastern Canada, express their thanks in a recitation known as The Thanksgiving Address. Sometimes referred to as “the words that come before all else,” this address is spoken at community gatherings, ceremonies, and even at some schools to start the day. The words express thanks for fellow human beings, Mother Earth, the moon, stars, sun, water, air, winds, animals, and more.

"Here is an excerpt that offers thanks for 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.

-Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

"American Indian peoples’ connection to the natural world has been maintained through generations of observation, in which people developed environmental knowledge and philosophies. People took actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of their communities and the environment, with which they shared a reciprocal relationship. Today, Native knowledge can be a key to understanding and solving some of our world’s most pressing problems."

-From American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (PDF), an educational resource created by the National Museum of the American Indian