Thank Mother Earth This Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Address (the Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen) of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora) reflects their relationship to the Earth by giving thanks for life and the world around them. It is a prayer that is appropriate at any time, but especially on a holiday celebrating the abundance of the Earth’s gifts. 

As you read this prayer, please choose actions to protect our relationship with the natural world and her inhabitants. Beyond Pesticides thanks all of you for your support. 

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 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.  

Beyond Pesticides wishes you—our readers, network, and supporters—a healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season. We appreciate you joining us as we strive to elevate our voices for transformational change to protect health and the environment.

>>Click here to read a personal Thanksgiving appeal from Executive Director Jay Feldman and please consider supporting our programming at our secure site—bp-dc.org/give2023