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A Thanksgiving Address: Honoring Our Native History

This week, NTC staff will take a much-needed pause. The journey to meet our mission requires time away to collect ourselves, and connect with gratitude for the ordinary and extraordinary. Our work is fulfilling and demanding, and along the way, that tug of urgency often pulls us away from the other things that give us light, love, joy, and life.

As we step away, we celebrate our Native American and Indigenous communities, and we take inspiration to put reflection, gratitude, and connection first from the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, also known as The Words That Come Before All Else.

“Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us, 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 beings. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give our greetings and our thanks to each other as People.”

We are a community nested in many other communities, deeply interconnected.

“We give our thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewels. We see them at night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing beings. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send our greetings and our thanks for the Stars.”

We need each other to realize our full potential.

“We gather our minds together to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help us throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send our greetings and our thanks to these caring Teachers.”

We must embrace the power of the pause. Of reflection. Of space to feel grounded, calm, and connected to the many invisible threads feeding us life. And in this diversity of life-giving threads, we see a web — a network of our shared humanity. It is the greatest of gifts to celebrate where our collective intertwines; to be grateful for how they weave together to create something strong and rich and new.

“We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it is not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send their greetings and their thanks in their own way.”

Together, we give greetings and thanks to the light all around us.

Filed under: News, Blog

Vivian Nnachetam
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