This First Day at 12:30 p.m. after Meeting for Worship, we will recite the Haudenosaunee (pronounced who-DIN-oh-show-nee) Thanksgiving Address Greetings to the World. Please join us, in person or on zoom!
The Haudenosaunee people (also known as the Iroquois) have said that the words of the Thanksgiving Address are their gift to the world and are meant to be shared.
The Address is also called the Words That Come Before All Else, because gratitude is of the highest priority; the Haudenosaunee people recite these words before nearly every social, cultural, or political event; their children recite them in school. (The address is long, but it can be shortened or tailored to the ages of the children.)
“Haudenosaunee tradition teaches us that peace requires gratitude. We are to be thankful for the living world. Our relationship to the Earth is the basis of our sustenance and our peacefulness. … Through these words, our minds are gathered together to share our thankfulness of what nature provides, and acknowledges the ongoing impact of these forces on human lives. The Thanksgiving Address acknowledges the people, earth, waters, plants, animals, birds, bushes, trees, winds, sun, moon, stars, as well as the unseen spiritual forces. There are a multitude of connections between human beings and other living beings in the world. The Haudenosaunee are thankful for all the gifts that we receive.”
Throughout the Address are interspersed the words, “Now our minds are one.” It’s a reply, or call back, and it is the responsibility of a receptive audience to engage in the Address by saying these words together. It connects to a cultural concept of one-mindedness, which is a form of consent: You are saying, “I’m aware of this, I hear what’s being said, and I agreed to it”.
I first heard the Address when I read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer. She says,
“Part of its power surely rests in the length of time it takes to send greetings and thanks to so many. The listeners reciprocate the gift of the speaker’s words with their attention, and by putting their minds into the place where gathered minds meet. … You have to concentrate; you have to give yourself to the listening.”
We hope that the Quakers who attend will find Unity with the words, and help us to create a gathered Meeting.
Queries for Thanksgiving:
Do I live in thankful awareness of God’s constant presence in my life?
Do I live in thankful awareness of Friends and other people in my life and do I express my gratitude to them?
In what ways do I express gratitude for the wondrous expressions of life on Earth?