Thanksgiving Address

Onkwehhonweh

Traditionally used to open Mohawk assemblies – the Kanien’kehaka say the prayer in the Mohawk language.  The prayer of thanks is addressed to the Creation and the Creator and it is a testimony of the great respect indigenous cultures have for nature. The prayer provides the opportunity to greet, honor and thank all species of creation so that we, as humans, may survive.

The address is an indication of a unique way of thinking, being, seeing and a protocol grounded in the environment and in respect for all living thinks. This address reminds how indigenous people used the natural resources around them, ensuring that only what was needed was taken so that a species of plant, fish, or wild game would be able to regenerate and flourish in subsequent years and for future generations.

Below is a synthesis of the prayer in English:

The words that come before all else:

My Sisters and Brothers,

Once again, as was the custom of our ancestors, we begin our day by giving thanks to all life’s substance for everything that is provided daily for our happiness here on Turtle Island. Let us be of one mind as we thank creation, and as a respecting people, remember those who are sickly, that they may pass this day in peace and if possible, to be cured of their sickness.

We want to give thanks to the people, our ancestors, grandparents, parents and all immediate family and friends.

We give thanks to our Mother Earth, on whose back we pass each day that we are here.

We give thanks to the waters, because there is substance to quench our thirst when we desire to drink.

We give thanks to the fish, who purify our waters and give of their bodies as nourishment to us the people.

We give thanks to the roots – everything that grows from our Mother Earth is rooted for nature to reproduce.

We give thanks to the grasses – our cousins the animals need this to give them strength for their bodies.

We give thanks to the medicines – when we are not well, we can go to the forests and find cure for our aliments.

We give thanks to the insect life – for their help to pollinate our gardens during planting season.

We give thanks to the Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash who gave us sustenance.

We give thanks to the fruit life – there are many varieties that help us to have healthy strong bodies.

We give thanks to the animal life – who live within our forests, supplying meat to nurture our families.

We give thanks to the bird life – they love to sing to us daily, reminding us to have peace in our hearts.

We give thanks to the tree life – who help to heat our homes and the maple for giving us sap at spring time.

We give thanks to the Four Winds – who come each season and give us new breath of life.

We give thanks to the Thunderers – who supply us with fresh waters to be restored in our wells.

We give thanks to our Grandmother the Moon – who watches over us nightly and for continually working together with the women to bring us the faces yet to come.

We give thanks to our Brother the Sun, whose face reappears daily from the sky to bring sunshine for every being to enjoy.

We give thanks to the stars in the heavens – for when night time arrives, we can look up into the darkness and see those who have passed on from our mother earth staring at us with a tinkle in their eye.

We give thanks to the Creator for all that he has created to help us to be contented during our visit.

Nothing was overseen as far as needs for all of creation to exist.

We, the people, have begun our day by thanking all of creation the best way we know how, and if by chance we forgot to mention something unintentionally, we ask that you the people amongst us fix it in your hearts and minds.

Giving Thanks at Kanata

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About Rotinonshonni ónhwe - Tkanatáhere

We belong to families organized pursuant to ancient ways. Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah (Mohawks) of Grand River support site. "Very simply, frauds and deceit have usurped this war reparation and robbed our people of what is rightfully ours, leaving us with only a Land Claim. Broken deals, fraud, embezzlement and genocide – and worse – all perpetrated at the unclean hands of too many to count at this time. We are (Mohawks) Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah of Grand River, founders of the Five Nation League and what some call the "Great Peace".

One response to “Thanksgiving Address”

  1. Gail Bury says :

    I have been invited on a few occasions to share in this beautiful prayer. I am so grateful you published it. Thanks.

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