Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

(ca. 1451)

The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address is an ancient Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) expression of gratitude that acknowledges connection to all beings. The address is known to have existed at the latest since the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy—perhaps around 1451—when its ritual use was established by the Peacemaker, but it was likely passed down through oral tradition for untold centuries before. The word Haudenosaunee means “the People of the Longhouse” (or, technically, “They Are Building a Longhouse”), and it is the name of a confederated group of six (originally five) Native American nations, including the Mohawk. Longhouse refers to the characteristic structures in which they lived—immense rectangular structures made of logs that housed numerous families. The longhouse was more than just a shelter; it became a metaphor for the cultural and social values of the Haudenosaunee. The Haudenosaunee recite this address at the beginning and at the end of any important...

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”Hiawatha‘s Wedding“ by Currier and Ives (Yale University Art Gallery)

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