November 13, 2002

A Thanksgiving prayer from the Iroquois (Seneca) people


KEYWORDS: Thanksgiving Prayer thanksgiving prayer Iroquois seneca Indian prayer for Thanksgiving Lord of the Sky in the beginning of all things be thankful sister corn clinging sisters beans sister squash three sacred sisters sacred fire Iroquois language Seneca language Gwa Gayant’ gogwus Ona’o the sacred food Nyo’sowane, our sister squash Oa’geta, our sister beans FWDP Center For World Indigenous Studies Fourth World Documentation Project

Translated by: Chuck Larsen, Seneca

Gwa! Gwa! Gwa!

Now the time has come!

Hear us, Lord of the Sky!

We are here to speak the truth,

For you do not hear lies,

We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now begins the Gayant’ gogwus

This sacred fire and sacred tobacco

And through this smoke

We offer our prayers.

We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now in the beginning of all things

You provided that we inherit your creation.

You said, “I shall make the earth

On which people shall live

And they shall look to the earth as their mother.”

And they shall say, “It is she who supports us.”

You said that we should always be thankful

For our earth and for each other.

So it is that we are gathered here,

We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now again the smoke rises

And again we offer prayers

You said that food should be placed beside us

And it should be ours in exchange for our labor.

You thought that ours should be a world

where green grass of many kinds should grow.

You said that some should be medicines

And that one should be Ona’o

the sacred food, our sister corn.

You gave to her two clinging sisters

beautiful Oa’geta, our sister beans

and bountiful Nyo’sowane, our sister squash.

The three sacred sisters; they who sustain us.

This is what you thought, Lord of the Sky.

Thus did you think to provide for us.

And you ordered that when the warm season comes,

That we should see the return of life

And remember you, and be thankful,

and gather here by the sacred fire.

So now again the smoke arises.

We the people offer our prayers.

We speak to you through the rising smoke.

We are thankful, Lord of the Sky.

(Liberally translated.)

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This prayer was loosely translated by Chuck Larsen, (Seneca) for the Center For World Indigenous Studies and The Fourth World Documentation
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