Thanksgiving and First Nations

In almost every society there is a ceremony where people express thankfulness for life’s blessings. In agrarian societies, these ceremonies were directly connected to the harvest season. As evident from most of the cultures, people would associate these with harvest festivals in gratitude of the God who protects them and their crops.

First Nations

Long before the time of the first north-american thanksgiving celebration, it was traditional in many First Nations cultures to offer an official giving of thanks during autumnal gatherings. In Haudenosaunee culture, Thanksgiving is a prayer recited to honor "the three sisters" (i.e., beans, corn, and squash) during the fall harvest.

The original Iroquois Thanksgiving. is a four-day long ceremony. They spend these four days in ceremony and they bless the Earth, all life on it, and Great Spirit. In Iroquois the prayer is called Ohenton Kariwahtekwen, “The words that go before all else”.

This prayer was given to the people of all nations as a “give away” by Iroquois Elder, Jake Swamp, and the Iroquois Nation. A “give away” means that people have permission to use and adapt the prayer in any way that is appropriate for them. In Native traditions, without this permission, it would be inappropriate to take their prayers and use or change them, so this is a tremendous gift from the Iroquois people, and we should be thankful for this prayer.

Here is a short version of the Iroquois prayer:

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. We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. We give thanks to the Waters and the Fish. We are grateful for all the Plants, the Food Plants, the Medicine Herbs and the Trees. We send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world and the Birds. We give great thanks to the Four Winds, the Thunders, The Sun, our Grandmother Moon and the Stars. We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. And we send our deepest gratitude to the Creator, or Great Spirit, for all the gifts of Creation. Now our minds are one.

As we can see, they are thankful not only for the things they have, but also for being a part of Mother Nature, and for being able to live in harmony with it. We should learn from them, and on Thanksgiving Day, more than every day, be grateful for everything we Have and for everything we Are.

And last, but not least, Reiki teaches us the principle of gratitude deriving from its basic Five Principles. “Just for today, be grateful” is a valuable thought that we should live by every day. Gratitude heals our hearts and minds. On Thanksgiving Day, focus on all that you are thankful for. Begin your gratitude practice today and notice how gratitude opens your heart and makes it easier for you to recognize your blessings. Appreciate the love and abundance in your life, regardless of the challenges that you may face. Empower the words “Thank you, I am grateful” with Reiki and allow Reiki and the mantra to shift your perceptions.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Related articles:
Levels of Gratitude
A Feng Shui approach to The Five Reiki Principles
The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

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6 Responses to “Thanksgiving and First Nations”

  • Alice Wynnyk Says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 10:00

    Each day I am aware of reasons to be grateful and through though and words express my gratitude, yet I understand this is but a small expression of all the gifts I receive each day.

  • Lynn Says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 18:45

    Each time I go to the Marina with Martha and Dori is a new experience. It’s exciting for me to be able to feel the different levels of enery of Reiki and Qi Gong together. For that I am grateful .

  • Pamela Says:
    October 14th, 2008 at 14:19

    Every day, when I wake up, I am grateful for that day and for the fact that I can fill it, like a notebook, with the feelings I want to.

  • Don Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 05:31

    You can fill the day the way you want, if you can master your reactions to whatever comes your way.

  • Dori Says:
    October 16th, 2008 at 11:14

    Probably the most important thing one can be grateful for is being alive on this planet and able to experience and learn new things every day. Someone could consciously use this opportunity to become a better person.

  • Eric Says:
    June 25th, 2009 at 12:59

    Interesting website, I have bookmarked your site for future referrence 😉

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